It’s 4 am on a Saturday night. I had parked my taxi on the left side of Geylang Rd beside Lor 18.
As I waited for my next potential passenger, I noticed a frail lady not far away, flagging for a taxi. Several taxis stopped for her, but all refused to pick her up and drove off.
Something seemed off about this lady. She didn’t look drunk to me, so, drawing from experience, I predicted that she didn’t have money for the taxi trip. That would be the only reason why all the taxis rejected picking her up.
I could see she was in a hurry to get a taxi. She looked sick, constantly bending down to catch her breath. Out of curiosity and compassion, I drove forward to her, rolled down my windows, and asked if she needed help.
Still catching her breath, she pleaded, saying: “Sir, I have $10 on me and I want to go to Indus Rd. Can you help me, sir? Please!”
She crossed her fingers and made a begging gesture. Based on my experience, the fare from Geylang to Havelock Rd would be around $12-15, not far off from the $10. So, I thought to myself, why not? I picked her up.
Along the way, the lady shared her ordeal tonight. It was her first day back to work in Lor 16. Due to a fight earlier on in Lor 16, all the people dispersed.
As a result, the lady was unable to get any business tonight, so she was going home. The $10 fare she gave me was the only money she had, borrowed from a transvestite.
I asked her if she had tried looking for other jobs. She told me she is suffering from kidney problems, too weak to find a job.
She could not stand for long hours and could not stay in an air-conditioned room for long hours either. Providing adult services was the only means of making some money for her.
She was proud that she did not resort to stealing, begging, or cheating other people. She used her own ability to earn money.
Upon hearing this, I felt ashamed to have taken her only $10 away from her. I kept my eyes away from her as I did not want her to see my watery eyes. I knew these were tears of both shame and compassion.
I stole glances at this lady from the side of my eyes. She looked worn out, probably due to her life’s experiences and her sickness. But she wore thick makeup, and I could tell she tried to look her best. She wore a revealing dress.
From her handbag, the lady pulled out a long-sleeved button shirt. She told me to excuse her as she wore the long-sleeved shirt over her dress. At this moment, I realized she didn’t want her neighbours to see her in the dress. She is staying in a rented flat at Indus Rd.
We reached her destination without incident. She profusely thanked me for sending her back. At this time, I took her $10, put it in her hands, and told her to take this money and get herself some breakfast.
At this moment, I think I saw tears in the lady’s eyes, just as my own vision started to blur due to my own tears. I hurried her off (as she kept thanking me) as I didn’t want her to see me cry for her.
From what I know, I am a proud person and would never want other people to shed tears for me. I think this lady is a warrior in life, and she would also feel the way I feel.
As I drove out of the car park, I couldn’t hold my tears any longer, and they rolled down my cheek. Deep within me, I know I pity the lady. Having to work at an elderly age as a prostitute while having health problems.
I did a good deed tonight. I feel satisfied. And I still have to thank the TD uncle who gave me a free ride about 16 years ago. If not for him, I most probably wouldn’t have done this good deed tonight.
If you think my story is inspiring to you, please try to help out passengers who are truthful about not having enough fare for the ride. At least they are honest; do give a helping hand if it’s not too troublesome for you guys.
PS: God works in mysterious ways. Before I changed shifts this morning, I got a CJ for 3 passengers going Clark Quay > AMK > Bedok > Newton Rd. The fare was $42.05, and the passenger gave me $50, ktc. Guess it’s the way God said I had been good tonight!