"Where are you ladies headed?"
There were six or so of them in the car behind mine. As the Link light rail rolled through downtown Tacoma each woman looked at me blankly for a moment. You know, that look most people give to any stranger who engages them on public transit. But one brave soul spoke up, "The Hotel Murano."
I overheard them wondering which stop to choose so, knowing what I know about downtown, I wanted to offer up the best solution to their quandary. "Yeah, the next stop is your best bet," I informed them.
Once the doors opened and they filed past me they thanked me as though I provided a service worthy of thanks. The dingle bell tolled and the doors slid shut before the light rail whirred off to the next stop. At that moment, however, a startled look and exchange among the women who just got off took place. Though I could only hear a muffled something or other that mumble combined with their actions meant one thing. Someone forgot something.
They hurried to try to re-open the closed doors but, no luck, and we left them without whatever it was they left. I glanced back into their car and didn't see anything certainly of any consequence aside from the two likely homeless fellas in for a brief respite from the pounding wind and rain. The pre-recorded message over the intercom told me what I already knew, "Next stop: Commerce Street Station."
The new station was barely 3 blocks from where we'd left those ladies so I had an idea. I stepped up into the car and saw a small, dull orange bag on the floor and assumed it was their missing item. Trying, but not really caring, not to look suspicious I nabbed the bag and queued to get off at the next stop. Once there I headed back with determined, and somewhat rapid, steps to see about catching them as they rounded the corner of 13th to head up the block to the Murano. My gaze was on that block and, at first, I couldn't make out any foolish pedestrian gaggles hearty enough to be out amidst the squalls flapping over the top of Tacoma tonight.
But, just as I waited at the corner, I saw them. Determination and familiarity with most of the lights in this area nearly saw me step out in front of a bus turning towards the street I was leaving but, fortunately, I always look both ways. Once the people carrier passed I continued up the short, steep block and, just in the nick of time, intersected the women and handed them their missing bag. They seemed shocked enough to all stop in their tracks but were as thankful as they were wet. One even stepped towards me and awkwardly put an arm out as if she wanted to hug me but, just happy to help out a bit, I made sure they knew it was no problem then turned and walked on home.