The Taxi Driver and the Book Lovers’ Ball

The Book Lovers’ Ball was fantastic. I met several of my favourite writer friends there and we had a great conversation before dinner. Great conversation continued during dinner at my table with the collections manager, planner, and other delightful librarians, as well as the couple who won the best first line for a book contest.

There was high fashion, literary icons, notables, elegant food, and more importantly a lot of money was raised for one of the best causes around: books, more specifically, the free availability of books in the public library system. And that brings me to the most memorable part of the evening, which was the taxi ride to the Book Lovers’ Ball. I described it to to the other guests at my table, and as their faces lit up, I knew that the evening wasn’t really all about what was on the stage at the far end of the vast dining room but about this story I’m going to share with you now.

The driver was a woman, the first female taxi driver I’ve ever ridden with. When I told her that I was on my way to the Book Lovers’ Ball, which was raising money for the public library, she was delighted. After berating our mayor for cutting funds to the library, she spent the rest of the ride telling me how important the library has been for her and her two children. She’s an immigrant from Ethiopia, and a single mom. She took her son, now 8, and daughter, now 16, to the library every weekend, pulling them away from TV and video games. She worked hard to support them and, exhausted, she’d sometimes put on dark glasses and rest while they read. Other times she’d read to them and help them pick out books. But always, she knew that the library was a good place for them to be as a family, a place for her children to develop and grow with books.

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8 thoughts on “The Taxi Driver and the Book Lovers’ Ball

  1. What better testimony to the fact that we need libraries! Wonderful story..

    And so glad you had such a great time at the Ball.

  2. Thanks, Becca. It’s a story that I know is going to stick with me.

  3. Oh, that’s put such a lump in my throat, Lilian! I know we’ve spoken before about what a refuge a library can be – especially during a tumultuous childhood – and it gladdens my heart to think of your taxi driver and her kids sitting amongst all those glorious (free) books.

    1. Yes! That’s the perfect word Di, a sanctuary. A much better place to belong than some others.

  4. What a great story Lilian!! So perfect for the occasion! Just a few months ago I was commenting that I’ve never seen a female taxi driver in Toronto despite the fact that there have been some on Coronation Street, and even closer to reality, I’ve been driven by a woman more than once to (and from) the Nassau airport on my way to (or back from) the little boat that takes me to my favourite yoga retreat on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Not surprisingly, I’ve had some fantastic conversations with her too!!

  5. Such a heart-warming story, and so real. People need libraries now as much as they ever did. I’m glad you had a good time and raised a lot of money.

  6. Had the pleasure of being at Lilians table at the Ball and look forward to the book literally about multiple personality disorder and metaphorically about women and mothers very clever

    1. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, Elizabeth. We had wonderful conversations at the ball!

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