The little old lady wanted a cab. She called about 15 minutes before my husband's alarm was scheduled to go off. People only seem to need cabs after 9 pm and before 6 am. We frequently get calls intended for the local cab company. Our numbers are similar, but the two digits that are different aren't near each other on the dial. I couldn't figure out why so many people would make the mistake.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, you have the wrong number," my husband said when she called.
"Ma'am, we're not a cab company," he said the second time she called.
"Ma'am, this is a residence," he stressed the third time, still managing to be polite though barely awake.
The phone book was downstairs. I started fumbling for my robe and slippers. I took her fourth call upstairs, but when I said it was a wrong number, she quickly hung up. By her next call, I was within reach of the phone book and asked her to stay on the line while I got her the right number. When I recited it to her, she repeated back to me my own number which sounds similar. At least now I understand where the error is: not in dialing, but in hearing the correct numbers, likely from an automated information line.
She said thank you, but it was rather curt. I understand. She was frustrated. She was trying to get a cab and was calling the number given and was failing. There is no other cab company, so if she couldn't get through, she couldn't get a cab. Finally, she gets another number and she's off to see if she has better luck with it.
I would have liked to have heard profuse gratitude for my efforts of getting out of bed to get the correct number. I would have liked to have heard sincere apologies for disturbing us at such an early hour. But I realize that my "good deed" was hardly altruistic. I just wanted the phone to stop ringing before the other half of my household was awakened.
For today, at least, let me try to see, appreciate and express my thanks to everyone who helps me. Like my sister, Barb, who has baked all my Christmas cookies, done my laundry, cooked, cleaned, scolded children, held the baby, and done countless other tasks on her "vacation" at my home.