This past weekend marked my first experience with entirely independent travel- well, mostly. That is, if it weren’t for a few extremely gracious souls (shout out to my mother and Abdul, DC’s Kindest Cabbie!) I would probably still be sitting in Dulles International Airport, crouched in the fetal position in the corner of Gate C4.
After popping into Washington Ballet for a fun company class, I headed out to explore a bit of the city. My first stop was the famous Georgetown bakery, Baked & Wired. Hugely popular amongst hippies and hipsters alike, this family-run, quirky little coffee shop offers fresh takes on all kinds of confections (the date-based “Phig Newton” and a pretty pink “grown-up Poptart” were calling my name!), but is best known for its unique selection of “cakecups” in various innovative flavors. The cakes were more suited for sharing and since I was traveling solo I resisted the urge to indulge on my own, but based on description and presentation alone, favorites of mine included the Unicorns and Rainbows, a vanilla cake with rainbow heart sprinkles mixed in, topped with cream cheese frosting, and the Flapjack, a maple brown butter sugar cake with caramel buttercream and candied bacon on top. Opting for a slightly more tame snack, I settled into a sunny spot just outside with my iced chai, chocolate dipped almond biscotti and a bag of Baked & Wired’s cult-coveting Hippie Crack granola. YUM.
With what I thought was not much free time, I strolled up and down M street (several times) before heading back to the airport for my 5:30 flight, which ended up being a 6:30 flight. And then an 8:00 flight. And then a 9:30 flight…and then a cancelled flight. Luckily, though, the friendly cab driver I’d been calling on all weekend was 2 minutes away from the airport and took pity on me. After an hour of driving around with no final destination in sight, my mom tirelessly searching for available hotels on the internet, the world’s best cab driver succeeded in finding me the last hotel room in all of Virginia, and got me there just in time to snatch it up! Of course, after 7 hours of attempted travel and just 5 hours of sleep time before my shuttle back to the airport, the only appropriate thing to do was take a shower, order fresh berries from room service and eat them in my giant hotel bed.
In the end, Abdul, my cab driver, did something far more affecting than merely securing my sleeping situation for the night; He restored my faith in the goodness of humanity and the generosity of strangers. Truly selfless people seem to be few and far between, so when a human of such pure and unsolicited virtue weaves their way through your crooked path, it leaves a lasting impression. I’ve made it my goal to pay it forward with a random act of kindness this week and a pledge to channel a bit more Abdul on the daily.