"I'm headed to Emanuel," says the middle-aged woman. It's a short trip.
"I'm blessed," she says, her voice serene and sincere.
Part of me's a little disappointed I don't need to race. I've always liked the idea of showing off and getting to tear around at high speed with the hazards flashing, but I've never had the opportunity. Instantly after the initial reaction, there's a much stronger flash of guilt. I ask her why she has go to the hospital after midnight.
"My boy got shot," she says. "He just got his new liver today."
That puts things in perspective. Just seconds earlier, I was internally grousing about a short trip and not being able to live out an adolescent fantasy. This woman's son got shot, and she says she's blessed. For what must be the hundredth time, I realize that I really am just as self-absorbed and petty as the drunks I cart around. Except that I don't even have the excuse of being drunk.
"That's good!" I exclaim. "I mean, good that he got a transplant and everything, not that he got shot."
"God is good," she says.
"Is he gonna be all right? Is his body accepting the new organ and everything?"
"Looks like so, but the doctor says it'll take a while to be sure. Only God knows."
"Well, that's promising," I say as we pull up.
"Jesus loves you," she kisses me on the cheek after paying. For a few minutes, I almost feel like it's true.