The Bard and Jester

Welcome Readers! Here you will find some real life experiences and musings that I'd like to share with you. So, come on in, if you have the time and I'll do my best to be entertaining... Please click on my sponsors' links!!! Established March 12, 2005.

My Photo
Name:
Location: New York, United States

I can be a clown, a poet, a fool, a romantic, a diplomat, a beast...it all depends upon the timing and circumstance.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Things A NYC Bike Messenger Can See: Beatings & Acts of Kindness


Alamy Images Stock Photo
Originally uploaded by vraven.
One wintry afternoon in 1993, I waited near the corner of Broadway and Houston Street for my dispatcher to call me for my next run.

I heard a commotion and saw the river of pedestrians suddenly part before a taxi driver who had fled his double-parked cab with two angry men in pursuit.

The two had caught up to the driver at a hot dog stand and attacked him. The driver tried to fight them off as the pair beat him with fists, feet and whatever they could yank off the top of the hot dog stand: soda cans, bottles and even boxes full of straws (many of them flew out with each blow) and plastic bags bulging with buns.

Meanwhile, the owner of the stand leaned back and away against a parked car and silently watched the violence with a remarkable look of tolerance.

A crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the fight. The taxi-driver got more than he gave. One of the onlookers, a man in a fine suit and briefcase, called for anyone but himself to summon the police. But no one did.

I took my heavy chain off my bicycle and moved to assist the taxi driver, but the fight was over as quickly as it had began. The two assiliants fled down Broadway and disappeared into the crowd. The driver, sporting a bloody nose and lip, stumbled back to his taxi and drove away, leaving the owner of the hot dog stand to clean up a mess of scattered straws, crumbled and crushed hot dog buns, broken glass and cans bubbling and spraying soda.

It wasn't the only violence I had seen toward taxi cab drivers.

Another time, as I pedaled along Broadway, I spied a taxi cab stopped just around the corner, with another car right behind it.

As I raced past, I saw the driver lying bunched up on the front seat, and kicking through the open door at a man who threatened him with a crook lock.

But I also saw random acts of kindness. For instance, I was on Madison Avenue, in mid-town, waiting for my dispatcher to page me. An older woman, dressed in a burly white fur coat and leading a poodle by a gem-studded leash, passed by. She lost her footing in a dip in the curb made by a driveway and fell half into the gutter, letting go of the leash. The little poodle stood up on its hind legs in a frightened, trembling dance.

But in an instant, a half dozen good smaritans came out of the press of passing pedestrians and helped the woman to her feet, while others scooped up the leash and soothed the scared little dog. They even brushed the street dirt from the woman's white fur coat.

Then everyone involved simply went on their way, back to their respective lives, their faces donning the stony masks of indifference once more.