Mercedes strode purposefully away from the baggage carousel with her roller-board bag in tow and her cell phone pressed to her ear waiting for the call to connect. It irritated her to have the call roll to voicemail…again.
She mumbled as she groused, “It’s been three days and no word, dammit! He knows better than to go off on one of his dark ops assignments without checking in first! I don’t care if he is saving the world from the bad guys. I just want to hear his voice!”
She tucked her phone away just as she reached the passenger pickup area. Mercedes scanned the area looking for her ride when her phone chirped with a text message from her ride service that read:
Your HOMBRE ride service is here, Ms. Field. Please look for us on the West side of the terminal, in the gray minivan.
Mercedes rolled her eyes and shot back a text that read:
Listen, HOMBRE, Ms. Field is on the East side of the terminal so get your buns over here pronto!
A few minutes later a late model minivan, covered in layers of gray dirt and dust, screeched to a halt in front of Mercedes, and the driver got out to assist with her bags. The flowing robes of the driver swirled around the end of the minivan, and she fully expected him to be antagonistic toward her. In a faulty broken English he pleaded, “Dless tip but your rating, if it is poor, will cost me my job! I beg you!” He then dropped to his knees and held his cupped hands to his chest.
Mercedes was taken aback by the prostration of the HOMBRE driver at the curb and embarrassed by the display. She scanned the immediate area and quietly asked, “You got a name?”
The man lifted his head and wiped an invisible tear from his eye and stated, “My name is Khalid Effendi.”
Not wishing to spend any more time on the incident, Mercedes asked, “Khalid, can we just go now, please? Get me to where I need to go and we’ll see about your rating.”
Khalid brightened up quickly and promptly loaded both Mercedes and her bag with no wasted effort.
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