Ted’s Taxi

We had a very nice weekend trip to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We left early (6:00!) Friday morning and arrived late (just before midnight!) Monday night. By the end of the trip we were both tired. We just wanted to go home and go to bed. It wasn’t meant to be.

While we were waiting at the Houghton County Airport for our checked luggage, a woman approached me and asked about a taxi. I said I didn’t know too much about taxis in the area since we lived here and always drove our own car to and from the airport. She briefly told me she had been routed from her destination of Marquette to Houghton due to a flight cancellation, and was trying to get a cab to Houghton to get a hotel room for the night. She’d already arranged a ride home to Marquette for the following morning.

I suggested she talk to the folks at the car rental desk in the terminal where we were waiting, and then moved my attention back to Alice. Being the sweetie she is, she suggested we give her a ride to the hotel in Houghton. I quickly agreed and looked around for her. She was standing about 6 paces from where we’d just spoken, and was sort of staring off into space… apparently not sure what to do. I told her we’d be happy to give her a ride to the hotel. She seemed quite relieved.

During all this, the overhead doors to the luggage area slid up and I found our suitcase. I told Alice I’d go start the car to warm it up, and she and our new friend could come out when they were ready. I was out there a long time, and eventually came back in to see what was going on. It seems our new friend’s luggage was no where to be found. Golly!

She was at the ticket counter filling out a form to get her luggage returned to her. At the other window were two distinguished looking men who were also looking for a taxi. The agent at their window was explaining to them something I’d read about just before we’d left last week. Our local taxi service had just shut its doors because they did not have insurance on their vehicles. There was no taxi to be had. To make things more complicated for our Nigerian co-travelers, they were here to attend a conference at the Ojibwa Casino in BARAGA! Apparently when they planned this trip back in Lagos, Nigeria, Baraga looked pretty close on the map to the Houghton County airport, so they spent 14 hours flying to the Houghton County Airport, arriving at just before midnight with 40 miles to go to their destination and NO TAXI.

I looked at them, looked at the grim looks on the faces the airport agents, cleared my throat, and said, “We’ll take you to Baraga.” So it was.

Our car is supposedly a 5 passenger vehicle, and we tested that theory for the next hour or so. We just managed to jam their luggage into the back, shoehorned our three new friends into the back seat, and with Alice as co-pilot, headed down the road. We told our new friend with the lost luggage we could take her to a hotel in Houghton, or that it might make more sense to ride with us to Baraga, since her ride was coming from Marquette in the morning, and this would put her much closer to home. The shivering men from Nigeria were not dressed for our balmy (32 degree) December weather. We tried to explain to them it would normally be much colder and a significant snow cover by this time of year, but I could tell they’d taken in about as much change as they could already handle, so we let it drop.

baragalakesideAs we approached Baraga, it become clear to all of us that due to the language barrier, these two gentleman may not have, in fact, booked their hotel room at the Baraga Lakeside. And we did not know whether there would be a room available for our Marquette friend. Alice and I said we’d walk into the hotel with them and make sure they all had a place to stay before we took off. As you can see in the smiles in this picture, it all worked out in the end. Although the Ojibwa Casino was still several miles away and with no clear idea how they were going to get there for the beginning of their conference the next morning, we felt we’d done all we could do. We said goodbye and pointed the car towards home.

As we were heading down our road at about 1:30 am, with the crunch of gravel under our tires, Alice turned to me and said, “travelling with you is always an adventure.” It was dark in the car and I couldn’t see her expression, so I took it as a compliment.

5 Responses to “Ted’s Taxi”

  1. Candy Peterson says:

    YOU are the sort of folks that make this Copper Country and this COUNTRY so special! I think we are all beginning to realize that the only way to combat fear and incivility is to reach out to strangers more than we have ever done before. What a fun project this can be!!! THANKS, Ted and Alice!

  2. Shalini says:

    I love your BIG and generous hearts!! So glad to know you and to know about the positive difference you make in the world – love you both so much!!

    • admin0 says:

      Thank-you for the kind words Shalini. We miss seeing you and are happy you are finding a good life for yourself in one of the prettiest places in the country. I’m glad we’re able to keep in touch. Best!

  3. I was in Minneapolis in the year 2005 for World Veterinary Congress and attended International Feed Regulators meeting in Atlanta early this year, to be precise January. My Baraga visit is the most memorable moment of all my visits to US. I want to believe that the unprecedented gesture of yours was the foundation and the hospitality of the people of Baraga added a spice to the experience.

    I once again wish to thank you on behalf of myself and Nigerian Government for the hospitality and warm reception while in USA.

    Complement of the season and best of regards to you and your family.

  4. […] that got detoured to Baraga in order to help out some stranded travelers. You can read about it here. One of the gentlemen happened to hand me his business card as we were leaving, and I stuck it up on […]

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