My phone! I thought with a wave of panic as I patted my flat pocket. It’s still in the taxi! I raced toward the vehicle, but it slipped out of reach as the driver pulled away from the curb.
I started running, trying to flag down the driver, but he didn’t see me in his mirror. Then, he stopped about 450 feet from me and honked at a potential customer to see whether he needed a ride.
If that man climbs in, I can make it, I thought, bursting into a sprint. But the man shook his head at the driver, and the taxi sped away. Why didn’t I put my phone in my backpack? I asked myself angrily, realizing my situation was hopeless.
No sooner had I given up than a taxi pulled over and stopped about 60 feet from me. I was amazed because the driver had no apparent reason to stop. There was no one in his car to unload and no one waiting for a ride. Seeing my opportunity, I ran up, jumped in, and ordered the driver to “follow that taxi!”
I always thought the taxi drivers in Buea, Cameroon, were a little on the wild side, but now I felt like I was in a movie chase scene as I hollered, “I’ll pay anything, just drive, drive, drive!”
Unfortunately, by this time my first taxi was out of sight, but I remembered that the only other passenger had asked to be taken to Bakweri town. It wasn’t far; it took only three minutes to get there, but it was the craziest ride of my life.
I wasn’t sure I’d recognize the taxi or the driver when we got to Bakweri town. All I had to go by was that I was looking for a yellow taxi with an African driver. That didn’t narrow things down much!
My current driver was more clear-headed than I was at the moment. “We can call your phone,” he yelled over the roar of traffic. I thought he was going to hand me his phone. “Give me the number.”
I yelled the numbers, and he entered them into his phone while careening around corners and never seeming to look at the road.
This is what you can do with a lot of practice, I thought, clutching the door handle.
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He talked to the driver of the first taxi for about 30 seconds, and then his credit ran out. Oh, great, I thought, what if the other driver didn’t hear enough to know what’s going on? Maybe I should just buy a new phone.
Eventually, we caught up to the first taxi, and I got my phone back after paying that driver the finder’s fee he demanded and substantially tipping my second driver. It wasn’t the cheapest taxi ride I’ve taken, but it was less expensive than purchasing a new phone. And it taught me a valuable lesson about God.
Everything had happened so fast that day, I had neglected to pray before tearing off after the runaway taxi. I realized that God had answered a prayer that I didn’t even pray.
While serving as a volunteer missionary, I’ve had many experiences when God answered requests that were on the tip of my tongue. Our heavenly Father knows our needs before we do!