I was reminded today of a moment of when I lived in Granada where I had an unexpectedly lovely experience, doing something as normal as missing a bus and catching a cab.
After mixing up bus times over the holiday weekend, I had to get a taxi from the centre of Granada to Güéjar Sierra (a village en route to the Sierra Nevada mountains) as I had promised to help a friend run her organic cherry jam stall at the Christmas mercadillo. However, it wouldn’t be just any type of taxi ride…
The driver was called José and in the next 25 minutes to Güéjar Sierra, I would find out a lot more about him and the fact that he was probably the happiest and most positive taxi driver that I’d ever met.
Like most people and certainly based on my previous experience, I’d been expecting to have to listen to a taxi driver go on about the state of the world and in Spain that would probably include the ‘crisis’, however I’d never anticipated meeting one who was so happy and positive about so many things in his life.
He started off with ‘Mi encanta mi trabajo, mi mujer, mi familia…’ And then moved on to saying ‘Es una joya…’ when talking about all the different places to visit in Andalucia and across Spain because he had lived all over the country as a former policeman – Cabo de Gata in Almería is his favourite place – ‘preciosa’. He even showed me his old ID card. Since he’d retired from the police force a couple of years ago, he had enjoyed meeting different people in his job as a taxi driver.
He also told me how Sevillanos think they’re superior to everybody else (which I used to hear a lot locally due to local rivalry), but they couldn’t help it and that Granadinos may be malafollá (local dialect for ‘bit of a grump’) at times but that their heart was in the right place when it mattered…
So the moral of this particular story I suppose is when you least expect it, in this case on the way to a Christmas market having got the bus times wrong, you meet someone like José, who is not only the complete antithesis of the stereotype of a Granadino but also that of a traditional taxi-driver. Either way, I know that for me at least, my day got much better when I met the happiest taxi driver that I’d ever met anywhere, in Granada.