Saved By the Bum

Posted on April 28, 2012


This story is from Jen, a 24-year-old journalist living in NYC, as told to Raz:

I was reviewing a show for work and had an extra press ticket, so I invited Bill, a professional poker player (so badass!) who I’d been out with the week before. Apparently, Bill is not a huge fan of modern dance, so after Alvin Ailey had taken their final bow, he said he needed a drink.

We headed to The Snug in Hell’s Kitchen, and we had a good time. Bill was funny, and had an edginess that I really liked. By the time we headed home, it was after 1am, and it had gotten very cold. We hailed a cab, and I hopped in first, telling the cabby my address (It made sense to drop me off first, then Bill.) But once my date got in and we started driving, Bill looked confused.

“You need to make a left here,” said Bill to the driver.

“I can’t,” he responded, “I’m in the right lane.”

“Well why would you be in the right lane if you need to turn left?” said Bill. “Don’t you know how to drive?”

Bill clearly thought we were going to his place, not dropping me off at mine, and regardless, he was being so mean! I tried to interject, but he was all fired up now and wasn’t backing down.

“Why the hell don’t you know your way around New York?” he was yelling now. “Second Avenue is East of here!”

“You did not tell me Second Avenue!” and the cab driver was yelling back.

“You think I don’t know my own address?” said Bill.

The fighting went on and on. I zoned out, and started questioning whether it would be wise to abandon ship at the next red light. But we never got to that red light. The driver pulled over suddenly, got out of the cab, opened the door on Bill’s side, and then the two of them were in the street screaming at each other! What should I do?? Not about to sit in the cab all by myself, I got out too. They were still yelling, so I stood a good ten feet away, pretending not to know them.

Five minutes later, a small crowd had started to form, and I was mortified, exhausted and freezing. But I didn’t know Bill well enough to know how to calm him down. There were violent hand gestures involved now, and I was getting nervous that someone would throw a punch.

Suddenly, a bum appeared on the other side of the street. Slowly, he made his way towards the two men. “Oh great,” I thought. “Now someone’s going to punch this homeless man.” With a huge grin on his face, the scraggly man wandered directly between the fighters. They both stopped screaming to stare at him.

Then the bum spoke: “Cool it guys,” he said. “Cool it.” And they did. Bill walked over to me, took my hand, and we got another cab.

If he was thirty years younger, a little cleaner and had a job, I would totally have asked that bum out for a drink.

Posted in: Your Stories