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October 7, 2013

Joe Saves My Life

Nov 30, 2005

It was a dark and stormy night ... no wait ... it really was! It was the middle of winter in downtown Boston and I had been working late checking proofs on a manual that had to go into production the next day. When Maria, the person who normally cleaned my office, poked her head in the door at 8pm, I told her that I'd be working for a while. I asked her about Rudy her little boy who had missed some school with a cold. She told me that he was all better. About five minutes later she knocked at the door again, handed me a cup of black coffee and wished me good luck.

I wasn't done at 11 and the last train for home, 35 miles away, left at 12:10. So I packed up the laptop, bundled up and headed out the door.

Down in the lobby I said goodnight to the security guard, Joe. Joe was from Haiti. He was tall, thin, charming and handsome. He wanted more than anything else to become a conductor on AMTRAK. A couple of weeks earlier I had written a letter recommending him to them. I asked if he'd gotten a response. He shook his head sadly, "not yet my friend."

I left him in the lobby and walked down the long corridor to the Arlington St exit of the building. As I walked out I noticed that the snow had been shovelled but more had fallen. There were some black trashbaqs at the curb and they were rustling. The wind had died down so I realized it was rats. I stood still right outside the door and checked the street. I could see a couple of people back in the shadows of a nearby alleyway.

I decided that I wanted to get to the subway entrance quickly. I took three quick steps, hit a patch of ice and flipped up in the air and down whacking my head on the sidewalk.

When I woke up, I was on a couch in the lobby and Joe was standing over me. "You okay man?" he asked. I sat up. Then lay back down dizzy. Joe called an ambulance and made sure the computer got locked back up in my office. Then he called my wife and told her not to worry.

Now that may not seem like saving a life, but Joe had followed me down the corridor and was watching from the door when I fell. He dashed out as whoever was in the alley started moving towards me, and by himself had dragged my substantial bulk back to the lobby.

I saw him a couple of months ago. He looks good in AMTRAK black.