Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Franci, the taxi driver

We have sadly learned that our favorite taxi driver Franci will not be returning to the UAE after a holiday back to Sri Lanka. If you have been reading my blog, you will know that Franci has been my regular taxi driver over the last year and a half. Over this time, our whole family has become devoted to him and he really became our friend.

Franci went home to visit his family on November 30th after being in the UAE for almost two years without seeing them. He was soooo excited about seeing his wife and little girls again. He came by our house the night before he left and we gave him a Christmas present and I sent some things to his little girls and wife. When I hugged him goodbye, I felt that he would not be returning. He seemed so sad and had tears in his eyes when he said goodbye. I told Shirley that I thought he would not be able to leave his family again once he returned. And it seems I was right.

Franci had a very difficult time being away from his family and grieved for them often. He frequently shared his sadness with us (with Shirley more than me). It was hard to watch his struggle---the need to earn a living for his lovely family and the desire to be home with them. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka does not have much to offer young families and eeking out a living is very difficult. He came to the UAE in hopes of providing a better life. In some ways he did,----his little girl was able to go to a good school and he sent home money every month to provide for their care. It proved to be a big sacrifice and one that Franci could not continue to do.

The other day, he called one of his Taxi friends (the one Franci recommended to take care of us while he was gone) and told him he just could not leave his family again. His sister told him she would try to help him get a job at the Colombo airport near their home. And so, he gave up his contract and did not come back.

We will miss our Franci. Franci was a good man. You could just feel it. He was kind to everyone and took great care to be kind to me. He told Shirley once that he would never forget "the madam and the boss" and the many kindnesses. It's really quite the reverse. We will never forget Franci. He was humble and good---a rare quality today.

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