My father was a kind man. He was a taxi driver and worked hard to bring home the chicken. (Of course I mean bacon, but he was a Muslim and wouldn’t have been happy with my choice of words.)
My childhood was a happy one. We did not have much, something I did not realise growing up, but we had so much joy and love.
Our typical day used to start with my dad dropping his four children off to school. Four different schools. Which meant an early start in the morning and four grumpy faces, plus my dad’s smiley one.
One morning, mere minutes into our journey, a lady flagged the taxi down. To our confusion, my dad stopped. The lady happened to be a teacher at my brother’s school. Despite the fact that the taxi was full, he offered her a ride for free. And so, my younger Sister climbed onto my brother’s lap and we continued on the journey.
(Back in the 90s, Singapore was very relaxed with rules and regulations concerning number of passengers in the car.)
It was so typical of my dad. As Long as there were laps to sit on, it did not matter how many actual seats there are in the car. The taxi was like the clown car, with dozens piling out at the destination. To him, it saved family and friends the trouble of taking public transport or saves them money for a taxi.
When I was in secondary school, he offered to take my schoolmates to school every morning. One was a good friend from my primary school; the other, a niece of our family doctor. Since I was the last to be dropped off, as my school was the furthest away from home, there was plenty of space in the car. Never mind that we had to come off the expressway to get to theirs. Nor the fact we had to leave even earlier in the mornings. My dad never seemed to find it an inconvenience. To him, it made perfect sense.
And now, I find myself offering rides to friends of my children. Sometimes picking them up for a play date and dropping them home after. Or telling them to hop in to save them the walk to the main road. At times, a ride back to theirs if it is along the way home, after school.
My father was a kind man. He drove a taxi and that taxi was used as a vessel to express his kindness and generosity.
I, now, have a car. It is ingrained in me to offer rides to others.
I am my father’s daughter. And I miss him every day.