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The Happy Column -- Vol. 2

by jmaloni
Thu, Aug 25th 2011 10:35 pm

Volume II

by Sophia Smith

Here's another happy story I want to share with you. On a recent trip to NYC, I was shopping in midtown (I know, shocking), and looking for a taxi to return to my hotel in Tribeca. It was late afternoon, when all the drivers are changing shifts, and it's very difficult to find a taxi at this time of day. It's common for an available town car to stop and ask taxi-seekers if they want a ride for a slightly elevated price.

I said, "Tribeca Grand," and the driver said "OK, $20." So I jumped in. By this time, it was dark out, and the ride downtown took about 15 minutes. We were nearing the Holland Tunnel area when, out of the blue, the driver said, "OK, get out here." I said, "Oh, this is not the Tribeca Grand. I don't know where I am and I can't even see my hotel from here!"

He pointed in a general easterly direction and said, "It's over there." I said, "You told me $20 to take me to my hotel, not a random corner in Tribeca!" Then he just said, "Get out!" He became very agitated and grouchy. He obviously did not want to deal with all the traffic and bother of getting me to the front door of my hotel, since the gridlock for the Holland Tunnel was horrific.

So I said, "Look, I have six giant shopping bags. I'm wearing 5-inch heels. It's dark out and I don't know where exactly I am. I'm not paying you anything until I get to my hotel!" So the driver freaked out and started yelling expletives at me. I said, "How dare you speak to me like that???!!!" I grabbed $20 out of my coat pocket, threw it in the front seat, and jumped out of the car with all of my stuff before he went even more mental. After a few seconds I realized I left my favorite Louis Vuitton backpack in the car with my passport, credit cards and a few hundred dollars!

I stood there in shock for a second, and realized I would never see my bag again, since the guy was so mean. I figured it would be on eBay by midnight, and that was it.

As I was walking down the street and trying not to cry, I saw the car at a stoplight about a block up the street, so I started running. I mean running fast - in my high heels with all my bags! (I'm sure that was a loony sight to see!) As soon as I could almost reach the car and bang on the trunk (I swear I was a foot away), the light turned green and the car took off so fast and so far I knew I would never catch up on foot at that point. I felt like I was in a movie, because the timing was so perfect (perfectly bad).

Then my phone rang, and it was my sister telling me that my mom was in the hospital for a heart condition, and that she was being evaluated, etc. So that's when I really did start to cry ... walking down the street ... lost in the dark in Tribeca ... in my high heels and with all my bags. In the middle of our conversation my phone battery died, so I couldn't even call my friends who were waiting for me at the hotel to go to dinner at Babbo.

When I finally found my hotel about 45 minutes later, everyone was freaking out because they couldn't get me on my phone and I was so late. I told them what happened, and everyone felt sorry for me, but still wanted to go to Babbo right at that moment since it was a tough reservation to score. I opted to stay at my hotel and have a martini, and I told them I would shower and just meet them there later, whenever I felt better and talked to my mom, etc.

So I was at the bar of the Tribeca Grand (a very cool spot), having a delicious Grey Goose extra dirty martini and thinking. I just decided it was pointless to be upset about losing my favorite LV bag, passport, credit cards and whatever else because it is just all "material" stuff that is replaceable and doesn't matter anyway. I wasn't going to let it ruin my weekend. My mother was doing great and going to be released from the hospital in the morning, I was OK and didn't get hurt, and my family was OK. So who cares about a silly handbag, right?

By this time I had told all the doormen, the concierge, the bartender and anyone else who would listen that I lost my bag, and if someone brought it back to please call me immediately. I took a quick shower and was on my way to dinner when I stopped at the concierge desk one more time, and said, "Please let me know if anyone turns in my bag!" The concierge looked at me, pointed to the front desk and said, "I think you want to speak to that man over there".

I ran to the front desk, and standing there was Mohammed, the driver, holding my Louis Vuitton bag!!! I walked up to him and he said, "I'm sorry," and I hugged him and said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I gave him a huge tip.

I realized that night that people are truly good. Yes, we all have our grouchy moments, but Mohammed was a good man, indeed.

If you have a happy story to share, email me. I would love to share your experience!

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