A Kindred Past

I picked him up in a 2016 Infinity QX80 Limited, one of the luxury SUV’s in our Kevin Smith Transportation Group fleet.  He was an early 70’s, well-dressed gentleman.  If you were picking the perfect grandfather out of a catalogue, he would be it.  He slid into the backseat, I closed the door and we headed to a local Mediterranean restaurant in the New Hope area.

The drive over was uneventful.  He said only a few words, mostly just confirming where we were going and if we would be on time.  I couldn’t tell if he was apprehensive about the dinner or something else entirely.  However, I brought my focus back to our destination and we arrived 15 minutes before his reservation.

Over the next two hours, while I sat in the car waiting for him to return, I couldn’t help but wonder how he was doing.  Over the years, I see a lot of people shuffle in and out of the cars I am driving but something kept tugging at me with this gentleman.  Almost as if he had a huge secret that he wanted to share but didn’t know how.

At 9:30pm, I saw him exit the restaurant and I quickly jumped out to greet him and grab the door.  Here was the funny thing.  He beat me to the door.  Where was the picture-perfect grandfather I brought over!

No sooner was the car in gear than he began to tell me a story that reminded me of the movie Titanic and the narration that tells that entire story.  He was 15, she was a year younger.  She went to Little Flower, he went to Catholic.  They dated for 3 years before he went off to the army and she met a young boy from Delaware County and life went on.

He had 3 sons and a daughter but then lost his wife to cancer 10 years ago.  Most days were good but last week, everything changed.  He got a phone call.  I could almost hear her voice as he described that soft, delicate voice, even after 50 years apart.  She tracked him down and wanted to have dinner.

I noticed my hands were ready to crush the steering wheel during his story and I had to pry them off one by one and shake them loose.  But then he halts the story.  Now, I know as a Chauffeur it is my job to listen and not ask questions but come on, I couldn’t just let it go.

So at the next red light, only 2 blocks from his house, I caught his eyes in the rear view mirror and I said “I don’t mean to be intrusive but I just need to know, how did it end up, what happens next”?

He hesitates a moment, then replies “I know this is hard to believe but to me, she looks the same as the day I met her.  I’ve had a great life and from the sounds of it, so has she.  But tonight I feel like a young man with a life still to live.  Things still to accomplish.  Tonight I was a gentleman but after dinner tomorrow night, I hope I have the chance to kiss her goodnight”.

With that, we arrived at his house and he thanked me and climbed out before I could even get my door open.  I don’t know what is next for them but as I drove away in the Kevin Smith Transportation Group vehicle, I couldn’t imagine a more exciting evening than this one.