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Local View: Kind moment a reminder there's one race, the human race

On my most recent trip to Boston to visit family, my flight was delayed and my kids were not able to pick me up at the airport, so I booked a shuttle to the hotel drop-off nearest my kids' home. From there, I planned to take an Uber car the last few miles.

It was late at night when I finally got to the shuttle. The driver was a large, hot-and-tired, somewhat-grumpy black man. He asked me where I was going, then fired my bag in the back and directed me to get in. The rest of the passengers all got off in the city close to the airport, but I was going several miles out.

After all the other passengers were off, I cracked a light joke: "Well, it's just you and me now." And we began talking. After complimenting my driver on his skill in navigating the narrow, busy streets of downtown Boston, I asked if he had always lived there. He told me he was from Haiti and that he had come to Boston after the earthquake because he had lost everything. He talked about the devastation and how his beautiful home country likely never would be the same. I offered my sympathy for all the loss and then I told him about my Haitian friend and what he had done to try to help the rebuilding efforts. I asked about his family, and he told me about his son who is a U.S. Marine. He asked about my family and told me I was lucky.

When we got to the hotel drop-off, he got my bag out and started to take it in. I quickly explained I wasn't going to stay at the hotel, that my son-in-law had ordered a car to meet me there. He looked around, and there was no Uber car. It was late at night, and he wasn't about to just leave me there. He asked the address of my kids' house and said he'd take me there — even though it wasn't a stop for the shuttle.

This wonderful, kind, black man who had lost everything and this old (70) white woman were friends that night. I was overwhelmed by his kindness that late night. Not only did he take me directly to my kids' house, he carried my bag in and would not accept any more money. I am so grateful he was my driver and that I was not afraid to talk with him because of the difference in our skin colors.

I was taught there is one race, the human race. In light of recent events, that's more important than ever to remember.

Bea Larson of Duluth is a retired English and family literacy instructor for the Duluth school district's Adult Learning Center.

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