Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I had my vehicle in the shop for repairs and the only loaner available was a humongous van with several rows of bench seats and side opening doors. I was not use to such a large vehicle and was a bit nervous about driving it. However, I did need to pick up my dry cleaning so I illegally parked in the fire lane to protect the loaner from crashing grocery carts and quickly ran into the Cleaners.

I had the side doors open looking for a place to hang my cleaner bags, when someone gently pushed me aside. Startled, I watched a little old lady climb into the van and sit down wearily. Need to state here that at my age then, anyone around 60 was OLD. Today I look on 60 is a still a youngster. Back to the story. My mouth was still hanging open when the next wave hit. One by one, five other seniors climbed into the van, using my shoulder as a hand rail.

"We missed the bus." an elderly gentleman informed me as he squeezed beside two ladies and looked for a place to put his cane.

"You will take us home?" he partially questioned, but mostly stated.

I looked at my little group of passengers and tried to push thoughts of law suit out of my mind as I asked,"Uh, where do you live?"

They were from Century Village which is a huge retirement village in Palm Beach County. Today over 6000 people live there. The Village supplied bus service to grocery stores and shopping complexes. This group had stayed too long and had been left on the curb. The last bus of the day was history.

Against my better judgment but not knowing how I could possibly throw 6 seniors back on the curb and still sleep at night, I made sure there were no more stragglers. I then told them to buckle up and headed for the Village which was several miles away.

I was curious why they had no shopping bags. Man-with-cane explained that they went a couple of times a week to the book store/coffee shop that was part of the strip mall, to read and sip while the rest of the bus load grocery shopped.

I asked where their books were and he explained that they never bought a book except as a gift. They just read inside the store while sipping coffee. They would then write down the stopping page on a piece of paper so they could pick up where they left off next time.

Being a book and coffee person myself, I could see where that might be the perfect day out for seniors. The price for their entertainment certainly fit into a retirement income.

Now Century Village has over 2000 condos. It would have been nice if they all lived in the same unit but each one lived in a separate building. Kind of wondered how they all got together. Perhaps they met at Bingo.

Google earth view. Each tiny rectangle is a building such as this one below. Century Village was twice the size of the town I live in now.

At each stop, I got out to open the doors for the departing senior and was rewarded with a quarter and a sweet smile or nod for my efforts. I tried to refuse the change but they almost got ugly insisting. I quickly learned that little old ladies will not hesitate to slap your arm with their bony hands if you don't agree with them. So I just took the money and shut up.

I was really getting tickled at the absurdity of the situation. However with each successful unload, I breathed a new sigh of relief. I was beginning to think that this might work out after all.

Man-with-cane was the last to depart. He demanded my name and address. He did NOT offer a quarter. I was tempted to give a false name but I wrote my real name and address on the piece of paper he offered.

Ah, I thought, here comes the law suit. Perhaps I had taken a turn to quickly and caused a whiplash. I was living by the creed at that time that no good deed goes unpunished.

I was delighted though in a few days for I got a lovely card from Man-with-cane. He thanked me very nicely and there were TWO quarters scotch taped to the card. No lawyers ever called.

Still today, thirty years later, that ranks as the strangest, scariest, yet coolest buck seventy five I ever earned.


  1. I'm first! Wow.. That was interesting. Very sweet of the old man. I'd certainly treasure it too.
    I'm sure he does as well..


  2. Well, this was a neat post. I enjoyed it. Thanks for the visit.

  3. lostworld
    He tried to act grumpy but he was a real softie.

    washer mom val
    Thank you so much. Glad you liked it. Welcome to TNS.
    Will pop over to your blog now.

    Thanks so much. I enjoyed it at the time but even more later.

  4. Hehehehehe.....what a cool story. I love it.
    Did they wonder about what you were doing in that van?
    Did you get to tell them your story?
    How funny....sounds like something that would happen to me :-)

  5. What a sweetheart you were to take them! I'm going to have to blog about the time an actress got into our van in Va. Beach because she thought we were the hotel shuttle.

  6. Now that story is priceless. You need to send it into Reader's Digest or someplace so they can print it. I was chuckling the whole time I read it. It could go under Life in these United States, I think they still have that section. Not sure, my subscription ran out and I'm too cheap to renew it.

    Not only are you a wonderful person to animals, you make sure the seniors are taken care of also. Do you think you could handle that today? Loved the story.

  7. That is hilarious!! I would have been a nervous wreck driving them around. You are very brave! Ha!

  8. I laughed and laughed at this wonderful story I often say my life is stranger then fiction however you just topped mine.

    Dorothy from grammology

  9. What a hoot - and sometimes you just can't argue with the inevitable.

  10. Amanda,
    I tried to explain I wasn't a shuttle bus but they knew that. It was an situation where I couldn't win if I ever wanted to sleep again. I suspect you are a softie too. They would have had you also.

    Gosh, I hope you post that one soon. Can't wait for that story. Was it someone we know?

    Thank you so much. I would really have to cut it short for RD. My subscription has run out also. Hope they offer me a teaser soon to get me back. Sorry RD, times are tough.

    Janie B
    Thanks and I was a nervous wreck. Driving a strange vehicle full of fragile codgers was daunting. NOW it is funny.

    Welcome to TNS. So glad I found your funny bone and you found my blog. I do believe every life holds interesting stories.

    Linda Starr,
    It was fun once they were all deposited. I sure couldn't argue with a group of tired, scared, and cranky seniors who didn't hesitate to slap my arms. I was way out numbered.

  11. This post was such a funny and warm story...the elderly are like children in away...innocent and just take it for granted that they are going to "do" what they are going to do.

  12. Hi Patti, Cute story.... I laughed and laughed at your predicament... I probably would have done the exact same thing. Did you ever hear from the condo unit itself---who was supposed to get them home???? Wonder how they would have gotten home if you weren't there??????

    Love that story...

  13. Pattie, you are a real trooper...keep up the good work with the blogs...your friend, (?)

  14. I love your story! It may not have been funny at the time but I sure found it amusing!
    Sunny :)

  15. This is so lovely !!Fantastic and neat post !! Thanks for sharing..Unseen Rajasthan

  16. This was a hoot. Having worked for a spell in a retirement community facility as activities director, I saw my seniors in your story. lol

  17. This used to happen to us as we exited to gates to the base where Shelly was stationed in Morroco.

    Imagine an LTD stuffed with working Moroccan wwomen (most with daily work enduced BO) speaking 3 foreign languages pushing in to uninvited rides to strange looking slums in a big American car!!!

  18. Wanda,
    Thank you and you nailed it. They just assumed that their request would not be turned down and they were right.

    I know you probably would have gone the extra step and seen them to their door(some on the third floor). George with you and it would have been done. Right? Thanks so much.

    You bet you are my friend. Thanks.
    I know you are happy with facebook, which scares me a little, but I miss your stories. Thanks for stopping by.

    Once they were all out of the van and safely on the ground, I thought it was funny also.Thanks.

    Unseen Rajasthan
    Thank you so much. It was as much fun to write as to live through.

    Thank you. You know exactly what I was dealing with. Not much room for argument is there.

  19. Nitwit
    Wow, you topped me big time with that one. No competition. Did you at least get a quarter? How did you know where to take them? That story needs a post.

  20. This is one of the best posts I've ever read!! I love it!! You are such a sweet person. I just called and read this post to someone over the phone!! enJOY your day!!

  21. Loved this cute and sweet! A treasured memory!

  22. Cheffie Mom
    Wow, thanks so much. Phone retell is a first for me. So glad you liked the story. They were a unique group.

    Thanks , it was one of those events you don't forget. It has stuck with me for 30 years and actually influenced me at a later date.

  23. Now that's better than a paper route any day - the pay is about the same. You have a way of attracting oddity in your life it seems.
    Good job - I am proud of you.

  24. Grayquill
    Thank you.
    Aw gee, here I was hoping to be a stud muffin magnet but I guess I will settle for "odd". We work with what we have.

  25. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!!! You are a very great lady! It's a nice story and funny too! Thank you!

  26. Reader wil
    Thank you so much but I don't know if I am nice or just a huge push over. Anyway, I am glad you think the best.

  27. What a GREAT story, Patti...You are a good good person, in every way. I laughed when you described how they all piled in, like YOU were the Taxi Service....!

  28. That is the most lovely, heart-warming story I have read in a long time! Have you tried to offer it to the "Chicken Soup" publishers?

    As far as I am concerned, I am still smiling.
    Thank you! :-)))

  29. OOLOH
    They sure rolled right over me. Don't really think I had a choice but the way it turned out, I was glad I didn't.

    Thank you so much. I'll check out that site but think it would need a lot of work before I sent it to them. Thank you though for thinking it worthy. It was a delightful day.