Merry Christmas 2018
Twas the Day After Christmas

A TGB READER STORY: You Want Me to Do What?

By Patricia Kelly

Years ago I had my vehicle in the shop for repairs and the only loaner available was a humongous van with several rows of bench seats and side opening doors.

I was not used to such a large vehicle and was a bit nervous about driving it. However, I did need to pick up my dry cleaning so I illegally parked in the fire lane to protect the loaner from crashing grocery carts and quickly ran into the cleaners.

I had the side doors open looking for a place to hang my cleaner bags when someone gently pushed me aside. Startled, I watched a little old lady climb into the van and sit down wearily.

Need to state here that at my age then, anyone around 60 was OLD. Today I look on 60 is a still a youngster. Back to the story.

My mouth was still hanging open when the next wave hit. One by one, five other seniors climbed into the van, using my shoulder as a hand rail.

"We missed the bus." an elderly gentleman informed me as he squeezed beside two ladies and looked for a place to put his cane. "You will take us home?" he partially questioned, but mostly stated.

I looked at my little group of passengers and tried to push thoughts of law suit out of my mind as I asked, "Uh, where do you live?

They were from Century Village which is a huge retirement village in Palm Beach County. The Village supplied bus service to grocery stores and shopping complexes.

This group had stayed too long and had been left on the curb. The last bus of the day was history.

Against my better judgment but not knowing how I could possibly throw six seniors back on the curb and still sleep at night, I made sure there were no more stragglers. I then told them to buckle up and headed for the Village which was several miles away.

I was curious why they had no shopping bags. Man-with-cane explained that they went a couple of times a week to the book store/coffee shop that was part of the strip mall, to read and sip while the rest of the bus load grocery shopped.

I asked where their books were and he explained that they never bought a book except as a gift. They just read inside the store while sipping coffee. They would then write down the stopping page on a piece of paper so they could pick up where they left off next time.

Being a book and coffee person myself, I could see where that might be the perfect day out for seniors. The price for their entertainment certainly fit into a retirement income.

Now Century Village has more than 2000 condos. It would have been nice if they all lived in the same unit but each one lived in a separate building. Kind of wondered how they all got together. Perhaps they met at Bingo.

At each stop, I got out to open the doors for the departing senior and was rewarded with a quarter and a sweet smile or nod for my efforts.

I tried to refuse the change but they almost got ugly insisting. I quickly learned that little old ladies will not hesitate to slap your arm with their bony hands if you don't agree with them. So I just took the money and shut up.

I was really getting tickled at the absurdity of the situation. However with each successful unload, I breathed a new sigh of relief. I was beginning to think that this might work out after all.

Man-with-cane was the last to depart. He demanded my name and address. He did NOT offer a quarter. I was tempted to give a false name but I wrote my real name and address on the piece of paper he offered.

Ah, I thought, here comes the law suit. Perhaps I had taken a turn to quickly and caused a whiplash. I was living by the creed at that time that no good deed goes unpunished.

I was delighted though in a few days for I got a lovely card from Man-with-cane. He thanked me very nicely and there were TWO quarters scotch taped to the card. No lawyers ever called.

Still today, 38 years later, that ranks as the strangest, scariest, yet coolest buck seventy five I ever earned.

EDITORIAL NOTE: You are a prolific bunch of writers and there is now a backlog of reader stories to carry us almost to summer. So for awhile, I am not accepting new stories until we work through some of the ones already on the list.


What a terrific story! Good on you, and good on them.

I love this story!

Patricia, I OVED your story.


Also shows the resourcefulness of seniors. That part about reading but not buying the books!!

And then they read on the next time?? Do they use a book mark or bend the page..



Please keep writing.

You write my favourite kind of story.

Real life situations.

Merry Christmas from Montreal!

That's LOVED, not OVED.

Blaming it on my iPad.



Wonderful story.

This is an awesome story. A perfect way to start Christmas Day with a smile!

Oh joy! what a gift to us all.

Patricia, what a delightful experience (and attitude! by everyone!) which is perfect for a Christmas morning, as Sylvia noted. This was fun from beginning to end.

Hmmmm, would you do the same today? Would they insist on paying you via Square?

Not sure this experience would/could be replicated today!

Thank you for this gem.

Fantastic, Patricia! Please write more!

many thanks, Ruth-Ellen

That is the sweetest story. Thank you !

While i take exception to the term "bony hand" (I'm 73 and my hands are fat with stubby fingers), I can identify with your story. Residents at our little facility often miss the bus and have to take an expensive cab ride home.

Thanks for the Christmas smile and heartwarming story.

What a delightful story for Christmas Day ... or any day. I think I'd have been too rattled to drive those folks anywhere!

Marvelous story... laughed out loud at the ending...thanks. Those seniors were resourceful by commandeering your van and your good nature.

What a delightful tale! Perfect for a Christmas morning! Happy Holidays to all!

I did enjoy that story. Thank you.

That was great! I have to believe it was true too. I regularly drive seniors to medical appointments and I'm also trying to get an age-in-place Village started since there's such a need. This would be a great story to share (just paraphrase) when I present at informational meetings. May I?
Regardless - thank you for sharing this!

"Virtue rewarded!" Thanks for putting this into words for us to enjoy.

Your good deed of the day was more than repaid by giving you a great story to tell 38 years later!

This was a fun story, and you told it well. What chutzpah those seniors had. I wonder if, in today's world, they would be as comfortable with commandeering someone's van and demanding to be taken home. Bless your heart for accommodating them!

Great story! Give us more. Patricia.

WOW, thank you all for such lovely comments. You really know how to make a girl feel warm all over. That day for me was much more fun in retrospect than it was while it was happening, which is the bar for most humor.
I really appreciate your taking the time to leave such sweet comments and also greatly appreciate Ronnie for posting this for me. Thank you all so very much.

Great human story. Well done. You captured it all so very well.


What a wonderful story! Thankyou.

Oh, man, what a great story! That’s made my morning.

What a terrific story - made all the more juicy because I live in West Palm Beach, FL and know exactly where Century Village is! How inventive for the group to make their own cheap fun at the mall, and then cap it off with a (let's face it) pretty risky getaway. They're so lucky you were trustworthy!

I’m just catching up and reading this absolutely delightful story now. I would love to share it with my friend who lives in Boca . Her mother lived in Century Village.
Reminds me of the movie “ Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner in that “ if you build it... they will come”.
The seniors saw the van and you rose to the occasion! Brava to you!

All of you were very brave.

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