Thursday, February 09, 2006


Having taken a string of radio calls I found myself on the east side of town by Boulder Station. It was busy on the strip then so I was desperately trying to find something to take me back in that direction. I took a call at Desert Inn & Pecos. I pull up to the driveway and go knock on the door. Im looking for Kisha. A young attractive black girl comes out and says she'll be just a minute. I hate it when they're not ready when you get there. I go sit in the cab for five and then out walk these three little girls all of them carrying some type of baby stuff, then out walks Kisha with an infant in hand and her other hand is full of stuff. I get out and am help her with all their stuff. She tells me that she needs to run some errands, shes new in town and has to go to a pre school to get signup papers for her daughters, then a doctors office, then walmart, then back home. I call dispatch to let them know Im on a charter as Im thinking about all the rides Im missing on the strip right now.

About 2 mintues into the ride she's blabbering on her cell phone talking about her job at Delmonico's. But the way she is describing the restuarant is nothing like the Delmonico's that I know. It soon becomes clear that she worked at the Delmonico's in New Orleans. She goes on for a bit and then hangs up. My curiousity is struck...thinking this girl prolly has a good story to tell, I go into it. Im to the point where if I think I can learn something from you or you have something interesting to say Ill pick your brain while im driving you somewhere. Even on the off chance that you find it annoying.

you're from NOLA?

She then reveales the goods. Born and raised in NOLA, worked at Delmonico's there for 5 years or so. She had just made Captain a week before Katrina hit. She lost everything she owned. Her house, her car, all of her daughters' stuff. Everything that they couldnt carry between the 5 of them they lost. They made it to the Superdome and were there for 3 days/nights. She said she decided to sleep outside the whole time because inside was where all the crazy stuff has going on. No food, no water, no nothing and all kinds of undesireables roaming around. Really the worst place imaginable for a single mom with 4 little girls.

One night a mother and a father who apparently lost their little girl spent the entire night walking around the grounds yelling her name...


Kisha tells me that was her most difficult night. Having to listen to those people all night.

If I ever have another little girl I think im gonna call her Jada

Yeah...that sounds nice

After the superdome for three days they got on a bus and ended up in Houston. They stayed there for another four days. Then Kisha had a friend in Las Vegas that she was finally able to get ahold of. She offered them a place to stay and informed Kisha that there is a Delmonico's here at the Venetian. Having no where else to go and nothing else to do Kisha' friend drove to Houston picked the five of them up and brought them here. Four days later she walked into Delmonico's and they informed her that they were over-staffed but made a quick call to Emeril's Fish House @ the MGM. They, considering the circumstances and her experience got her a job on the spot. I found her the day before she was to begin work. In fact I explained the best route to take from her friends house to the MGM.

I dont know what it was about Kisha. I was really takin by her. I mean here is a person who lost everything and she just had this determination about her that was beyond impressive, this gleam in her eye. Nothing was going to stop her. It was the strangest thing. I have never gotten a vibe like that from a passanger. It wasnt the hurricane disaster that made me think that was just something about her. ...almost two weeks later I still dont know what it was that struck me about her, and I still cant find the right words to describe it...except to say that she was amazing, really. It sounds corny to those reading this Im certain but im telling you it was amazing.

I had ton of questions for her about her ordeal but she kept blabbering on like she was the next coming of the micro machine guy. I think maybe I was the first person that she could vent to. I got a whole hour and a half of that, but it was all my pleasure.

So 90 minutes and four errands later we pull back into her friends driveway. $61.95 is what the meter read. Lately it hasnt been umcommon for me to give out a free ride to someone that I deemed worthy and I really wanted to not charge Kisha but considering the amount of the charge I really couldnt do it. I get out and am helping carry all the stuff to their front door and Kisha says shes gotta run in real quick and get my money. I say bye to the girls and im leaning on the cab. She runs out and thanks me for everything and hands me some cash that is neatly folded twice. Im not going to sit there in front of the customer and count the money so I say thanks and stick the money in my breast pocket of my shirt and hop in the cab and pull out of there with a smile on my face.

The first stoplight I get to I reach in my pocket and start counting. Kisha had just handed me $120. Thats right $120 from a single mom who had just lost everything that she owned including her entire hometown. A $58.05 tip from a single mom who doesnt have anything to her name. And to top it all off, a $58.05 tip is THE largest I have ever received in over a year of driving now. Gotten many a fiftys, but never more. All of a sudden I didnt care that the strip was busy and I was miles away from it.

Kisha, if you're out go girl.


Anonymous said...

Andy, Did you ever hear what happened to her? BTW-I am on my 4th reading of the "Chronicals". I just now discovered the "email" option. Great feature.

Anonymous said...


Andy, you will never guess who got into my cab today. The young lady who picked Kisha up, brought her to Las Vegas and who she stayed with. (In the house near Boulder and Sandhill.) Somehow we got on the topic of where she worked and the Katrina thing came up. I remembered this story. I told her about this "Chronicle". Neither the girlfriend nor Kisha (she thinks) knows about it.

Kisha returned to New Orleans eventually and is doing well. Thought you would like to know.