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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Today I Met Bruce Meyers

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I leaned over and dialed the number.

“Operator at Super Ride, how can I help you?”

I put the phone on speakerphone and let Bruce do the talking.  He spoke very slowly and methodically.

“Hi. This is Bruce Meyers. I’m standing here at 546 8th Avenue since 4:00 p.m. waiting for my ride.”

“Can I have your user number please?”

I was irritated by her casual tone.

As soon as Bruce read out the number, I added, “Excuse me. This man has been waiting here for almost two hours for his ride.”

“I understand that ma’am. Let me see if I can get through to the driver.”

Tinny music started playing. A minute passed. Two minutes passed. As we waited, Bruce told me a confusing tale of being brought to work by the service, finishing work at 4, having to be at a recreation center at 5 and somewhere along the lines missing his gym session and dinner. He ended off with saying something like, “It didn’t even pay for me to be here today.”

While I couldn’t quite figure out his story and adjoining schedule, it was obvious to me that Bruce had plans that had gone awry due to his lengthy wait for his ride. It was also clear to me that the time was now creeping up to six and that Bruce had been waiting two hours for a ten-minute car ride. The thought infuriated me.

“Can anyone inside help you out? The people who work here?”

He waved his hand airily. “No, no they can’t help me.”

We were still on hold. The staff who worked in the building were beginning to trickle out. Thought assailed me of Bruce being stuck here overnight.

I hung up the phone and dialed again. This time, I did not let Bruce do any talking.

“Hi. My name is Blumie. I am standing here with a gentleman named Bruce Meyers who has been waiting two hours for his ride back home. Please do not put me on hold because the other woman did that and nothing happened at all!”

The man on the line answered calmly. “I will have to put you on hold but I will try very hard to make it as quick as possible.”

This time, the driver was contacted and details were ironed out. The ride was apparently fifteen minutes away. Bruce seemed delighted but I was livid.

“Fifteen minutes? Do you know that Bruce has been waiting since 4? That’s two hours! And now you’re still fifteen minutes away? How is that possible?”

I wasn’t even able to hear the explanation. Eventually, the conversation ended and Bruce thanked me very much, just as my husband called to let me know he was a minute away.

When I drove away five minutes later, Bruce was still there, waiting for his ride.

And now, hours later, I still can’t get him out of my head. The placid, languid composure. The innocent patience. An almost infuriating acceptance.

In some ways, I wish I could be more like Bruce. More understanding. Less quick to jump to accuse, to control my sense of fairness, justice and “what I deserve.” I seem to have adopted the mantra of  “this is coming to me” and if not, then “this isn’t fair.” Bruce had shown me something that I have yet to learn.

How to relinquish control.

Because honestly, there are so many areas in life that are beyond our control. By assuming that things will go the way we plan, we set ourselves up for disappointment and sometimes for disaster.

Believe me, I’ve been through it as I’m sure many others have.

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