Sparky Waid is a modern day hero in Seattle. I hope you folks like it and share some of his stories with your friends. I would really like to hear your experiences too. I’ve met Sparky and he’s good man, a gentleman, street smart, and brings America hope when we know that Seattle has a dark side that we tend to ignore and not discuss at the dinner table. He knows exactly what’s going on. Whether you listen to a politician, a cop, news reporter, a criminal, a rich man or poor man -you get could get a more realistic view of the current world from a taxi driver than movies, pundits, and radio stations.
“There are a lot of pleasures in driving a taxi cab , you hustle and make a honest living, you enjoy it, you have a lot friends; drivers that are your friends; you meet their friends and friends that you meet on the street. “
“If you are a taxi driver during the night, you know who doesn’t belong on the streets when you’re working, you must know how to look at a person and tell if they are dangerous. When to walk away and not pick them up. Whether you are off duty or not, you should let your friends know why they should not pick them up. There are lots of reasons. Some times people don’t want to pay Sparky, knowing that they won’t call the police, leave the meter running till a report is filled out and then they get a ticket for defrauding a cab driver, and let them walk in the rain. Word spreads fast in the street, there are more taxi drivers out here than the bad guys, and they know some real bad guys. Thank god there aren’t too many problems, and they don’t like to be reminded, but they are always alert to the dangers of passion: hate, love, and the rush that they thrive on.
As Sparky recalled, “It was almost 5:00 a.m. when I was down by the marina, I had just dropped off a fisherman, there was light rain, a wet an dreary night and I was leaving the parking lot when I saw the three of them. I pulled over to the curb, and asked are you ok, she could only shake her head, “no”. I got out, opened the back door, she let her two kids in and she buckled them up, I opened the front door. She got in the front seat, I pulled her seat belt out for her as she snapped it into place, I got into the drivers seat and rolled ahead four blocks, so I didn’t get in to the bad family situation where I picked her up at. Just a minute I said as I pushed the trunk button, I need to get a book out of my trunk. When I returned I had my bible and three teddy bears, it seams like I need more and more teddy bears in these last few these days.”
“I asked her to please give the kids a bear and for her to keep one for her self, as I looked the number up I needed. I again ask her how can I help you? Do you want me to call the police? “No”, she said and I made the call, and moved up the street. I told her where I was going to take her, only less than five minutes ahead and at that point a woman, would take care of her and they would call the police if she needed to file any complaints, however she and the kids would be fed, and have a warm safe house to sleep in tonight. As I pulled up people were already waiting outside for her and the two children, there was no luggage, there seldom is, just what they’re wearing. As I stopped and opened the doors for them, the two kids jumped out and both together said, thank you taxi man for the bears, I said you are welcome, as the mom got out, with tears in her eyes, she could only give me a big hug, and a brief smile, as she and her bear got out of my cab and into the arms of waiting for love and help.”
“I pulled away, smiled, and some one else flagged me down, amazing how life goes on and on. I must remember to go by tomorrow and pick up some more bears for my bear bag I keep in the trunk with my phone address book of people I need to call for help, the bible; every driver has one or should. There is more to life than a 911 call or getting hung up with the police. In my world I feel that most of the drivers are real people and have compassion for people like you. And for any other drivers, you have done the same thing, many times, a phone call, a free ride, five bucks, helping people, we just never talk about it, its our thing to do, to help street people, all people.”