On most Fridays, my wife takes our golden-retriever, Whiskey, to her office. So instead of taking separate black cars to work, we hail a yellow cab and commute together. Black cars, for all their merit, don't take dogs, even a puppy as accommodating as ours.
This morning, the three of us were in the back seat of a rickety Toyota Prius when we got a call from our daughter, a clinical psychologist in Boston. My wife kept her phone on speaker.
Sarah said she'd been up since 6:15 counseling a patient in trouble. She went on to say she'd been in trouble for about three or four years since her father had committed suicide.
The cab driver, a young man turned around having heard that, and said through the bullet-proof plexi, "I am a licensed minister. Can I say a prayer for the young girl."
My daughter said, "I can't tell you her name."
The minister thought a moment, and then nodded his head and said, "ok."
Streaming across the park, he chanted:
"Oh, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, help this poor child overcome the sin of her father who murdered himself, help her overcome the sin that is in her family for seven generations going back to Adam and Eve. Oh, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, help her eliminate the demons that plague her, that say she can't do it, the demons who haunt her. Help her strike down fear and the sins that are in her for generations."
We paused at a light on Central Park West.
"Amen," he concluded. We all said "Amen," too. I quickly ended the phone call with my daughter. It was impossible to go on after that.
The driver, who had been somewhat in a trance, snapped out of it.
"Where do you want to be let off on Ninth Avenue," he asked.
"The west side of the block, far corner at 49th," I answered.
Minutes later, he stopped the cab.
On the east side of the block, near corner.
"God bless you," I said, getting out. "God bless," he said, streaming downtown.