I am a bellman at a hotel. My friend is the concierge. Tonight, he called me with some sad news.
There is a dispatcher for a local cab company who we always enjoyed talking to. We would call her to request cabs for our guests, but somehow managed to get to know her better than these calls usually allow. Corey and I never met her but our phone conversations were always very fun. In chatting with her on the telephone, Corey learned a bit about her. Of course, she had a tough job. Getting cabs to the right spots, answering calls from people who were drunk or who didn't know where they were but demanding cabs to find them and take them wherever.
In her spare time, she liked to play pool or to escape to the casinos within reach of day trips from our city of Nashville. She had a playful spirit and was always kind to us, for we were always kind to her. It occurs to me now that I don't even know her name. But she knew mine and she knew Corey's.
Corey left me a voicemail message tonight. He called the cab company for a guest and remarked to the man who answered the phone that he hadn't heard her answer in a week or so. The man informed my friend that she was killed in a car accident and that her funeral had been held yesterday. I listened to the message and felt loss. Life is fleeting, indeed. I know so little about her and yet her value to me was measurable.
Of course, I spent the evening thinking of the people I know so well. And I thought the unthinkable. I thought of lives stopped short with no warning; no visits to doctors, no tests run and loose ends wrapped up. Just a phone call made to loved ones. And I don't say that to be grim. I type this and I just think of how much I want to hug the people in my life. They are my everything. I wonder about the people in that cab dispatcher's life. Who mourns her? Who was she really? I got the sense on the phone that she was lonely, but she played pool with friends I'm sure. She traveled to casinos not by herself I imagine. I'm sure someone wishes they had hugged her recently. She meant something to me and she meant something to Corey. And we'd never seen her face and I can't remember her name.
My heart goes out to those she left behind. My heart knows that she was a person of value and that she mattered to people. I'll write more later. But for now, I've got people to embrace.