One Eid last year, my uncle was able to help save someone’s life.
She was young, around twenty-five, and she got onto his taxi. Somewhere along the way to her desired destination, a subway station, she asked him if she could confide in him; it was something important. He said yes. She told him that she was going to kill herself today, commit suicide after he dropped her off. Shocked, he looked at her to see if she was serious. She was. He said he wouldn’t let her; she said it didn’t matter, she would take a bus if he didn’t drop her off. He wouldn’t stop there. Did she have any relatives or family in the area? She had to choices, he said: to go to a relative’s place, or to a police station.
He asked her why she was doing this; clearly, something had pushed her over the edge. It turned out that she had lost her job four days earlier. She had a husband and a sister; he called her husband and got the address. She decided that she wanted to go to her sister’s house. He called her, and they asked him to bring her to them, a location about 40 minutes away. He agreed and took the local route, just to stay on the safe side. It took them longer than usual, and along the way they talked. He told her that a job was the last reason to want to end your life; money can be replaced, he said, but a life cannot. He told her that she had nothing to complain about, living in this country: she had family, she was young. He told her to think of the parents who raised her, how her life was just starting now. What was a lost job in the long run?
He told her of arriving in a new country, without a job, not speaking the language, in a climate so different from the hot weather of his home country. He told her that he had no family left; they were either dead or missing. She was wide-eyed with surprise. Somehow, his story got through to her. When he arrived at the house, there were tears and hugs all around, and he was swept up in the current of relief and thanks. He refused to be paid; what was money in comparison to her life? Besides, he said, he could just pick up another customer and earn more money throughout the day. This one was special, even better than earning money. He said goodbye and came home, where we awaited his arrival.
It was a special Eid indeed.