Finding A Passenger
Arora spotted a young girl standing at the side of the road waving at his taxi. He pulled up the taxi in front of her and she got in. “The Gloucestershire Railway Station, please.”, she mumbled to him. This odd request caught Arora’s attention and he looked up at her through the rearview mirror. “I beg your pardon?”, he asked assuming he misheard her.
“The Gloucestershire Railway Station, please.”, the girl responded in a slightly shaky voice. The girl didn’t look a day older than 13. She was dressed in a school uniform and was not in school on a Tuesday afternoon. Her request sent off a red flag in Arora’s mind. Dressed in a uniform, asking to be taken to the railway station, she is probably bunking her school.
Arora had a feeling something was wrong. Despite the suspicion, he started driving the taxi hesitantly. The railway station was more than an hour away from here, which means they are in for a long drive. Except in that moment, he had no idea that his decision of picking up this passenger will lead him to embark upon a life-altering journey.
He knew that his passenger’s choice of destination is none of his business. But there were too many things in his mind at the moment. The girl was driving away from her home to a railway station more than an hour away dressed in a school uniform on a Tuesday. She was shaky and nervous and didn’t want to make eye contact with him. It was obvious something is wrong.
Arora decided it is best to break the tension by making some small talk with her. Maybe he will be able to sense what she is up to. She might even tell him whatever is bothering her. “So where are you headed to?”, he asked with a smile. The girl didn’t respond. Almost as if she didn’t hear him.
Arora didn’t give up, he asked again. She looked at him with a frown on her face, “Going out with a friend.” she responded rather nervously. “Do your parents know about this?”, Arora asked. He knew he shouldn’t interrogate her like this but things were not looking good already. Without answering, the girl went back to looking outside the window.