*Photo by James Burton
*Photo by James Burton
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Manse Road is not, I’m told, usually the setting for any of the much-publicised violent crime that has afflicted Bermuda in recent times.

But as the guy wound down his window and peered up at me, I can’t deny I thought my gleaming new watch (it was a gift, I’m a journalist not a banker, although I’ve often been called something close) might be under threat.

‘Yo Gaan Taaarn’, the guy said, rather firmly.

‘Umm, I’m awfully sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.’ English guys have a tendency to turn into Hugh Grant — verbally, at least — when we’re nervous.

‘YO GAAN TAARN’

‘Oh, of course, yes it’s twenty past eight.’

The driver looked at me in the same way Simon Cowell views another tone-deaf deluded wannabe destroying I Will Always Love You and made to pull away before having a change of heart — and approach.

This time, he pretended he was talking to his three-year-old son. Phonetically. And very slowly.

‘R… U… GO…ING… TO… TOWW NNN?’

Thankfully I resisted the urge to crack a ‘why didn’t you say so’ joke.

Wearily, but with the patient politeness and good grace that I now realize is part of every Bermudian’s make-up, he waved me into the passenger’s seat.

It was a heart-warming touch, although my driver probably didn’t share my euphoria at the time.

In my defence, mornings like that had never happened to me before in any country I have lived or visited. People just don’t stop and pick up stragglers.

Well, in Bermuda they do. My driver was engaging – I quickly acclimatized to the accent – and loved football almost as much as he loved his six kids.

At the time I had been in Bermuda only a matter of weeks and when a country’s people are underpinned with such kindness, I was left with a feeling of great optimism about the future.

Surely, there is nowhere else in the world where the symphony of beeping horns in traffic are not grumpy, irritated drivers but a constant barrage of shout-outs to passers-by.

These observations may be typical of a naïve, wide-eyed relative newbie, although I hope they also gently remind slightly jaded, longer-term residents of some of the endearing traits of Bermuda.

My lift, to put it in context, had been struggling for work, which when you have all those mouths to feed can’t be a laughing matter.

It was all I could do, though, to stop him taking me right up to the Bermuda Sun office door.

As the island struggles to comprehend heartbreaking and horrific murders, it’s worth remembering such everyday acts of kindness.  

 

James Burton is a writer/ sub-editor at the Bermuda Sun. This is the first of a weekly blog. Get in touch with James at jburton@bermudasun.bm or follow him on Twitter: @JamesBurtonSun