Richard Bostwick Reminiscences

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Welfare Office Stories
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Cab Driving Stories
The Way It Was - 1930
The Gambler And His Gal 1927
The Last One To Know 1926
Just A Couple Of Hustlers 1925
Cash On Delivery 1923
One Born Every Minute 1923
Fun Is Where You Find It 1923
An Ace In The Hole 1922
And A Little Child Shall…
Gold Tooth Murphy
Aiding And Abetting 1929
Buried Treasure 1927
The Good Samaritan
Just A Country Trip
The Prodigal Son
Occupational Hazard
Four Bags Full
Overtime Pay
Above And Beyond The Call
Fourth Down And Ten
Let There Be Light
Take It Or Leave It
Double Or Nothing
The Champ
Three Of A Kind
My Silent Big Spender
N.P.R.R. (Northern Pacific Railroad) Mr. Moody


Prohibition Stories
A Little Competition
Some Did Burn
Last Words


The Prodigal Son

The time was 8:30 p.m. The weather was still in the mid 80's and I had not turned a wheel since coming on duty. Our cab office was located in a local public garage. This garage, besides offering repair service and storage to the general public, also maintained a car rental service. The charge for the rental of one of their cars was .30 a mile, or $3.00 an hour, which ever was greater. This charge was the same as our cab rates, only in our case we included a driver.

I was standing by the front entrance of the garage this particular evening when a young fellow came in and told the attendant he wished to rent a car. But to his disappointment, all of the rentals had been taken. As he came out of the garage he asked me if there were any other car rental firms in town. I told him I knew of none, then asked him where he planned on driving to. He told me he and his roommate had planned to take their girlfriends to a dance at a lake resort which was some 40 miles from town.

I told the young fellow that he could hire one of our cabs for the same price as he would pay for one of the rentals. He readily agreed to hire my cab. He explained that he had just graduated from the Concordia College. As a graduation gift, his father, who he claimed was a minister in a small town upstate, had told him to rent a car and take his roommate and their girlfriends to the lake resort for an evening of dancing. The only hitch to the situation was that the boy said he would have to send the bill to his father, who in turn would send me the fare.

My boss said to go ahead if I wanted to, but I would be held responsible for the collection of the bill. The boy was an honest looking kid and I guess the fact that he said his father was a minister was enough for me to take a chance, so away we went.

After picking up his roommate and their girlfriends, I proceeded to the lake resort where they spent the next three hours dancing. This dance hall was a beautiful open-air pavilion right on the edge of a lake. After the orchestra played “Goodnight Ladies” I loaded the two couples into my cab and drove them back to town. The cab bill came to $24.00, which the young fellow said he would send to his father and that I should receive that amount within a few days.

Well a few days came and went but no word from either the boy or his father. I began getting a lot of ribbing from my fellow drivers for being a sucker in trusting the young man. I checked on the address he had given me and was told he had moved some time ago and had not left a forwarding address. My next step was to visit the Concordia College to see if they had any record of his present address. The person I talked to said they had no knowledge of the boy's whereabouts-he had been expelled from school 2 or 3 months prior to graduating due to poor grades and improper conduct.

Now I really felt I had been ‘taken'. Boy! What a sucker I had been.

While at the college I obtained the address of the boy's father. As it turned out, the father really was a minister. I wrote to the father, enclosing the bill for his son's cab fare. Several days had passed, and just when I was about to give up hope of ever getting paid, I received a letter from the boy's father. He apologized for the delay in caring for my bill, but most important, the letter contained a check covering the debt.


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Published by the Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU
Updated: 7/30/2007