Generally these were "special needs" children. What we called retarded when I was in school.
Every child I met like this - and every adult - was friendly and harmless and usuallly quite funny.
One five-year-old I used to pick up was the most handsome boy I had ever seen in my life. If he looked as an adult as he did as a child, I wonder what some women would have done with him. At five he was movie-star handsome.
When I was parked women would see him, walk up to the car, get big smiles on their faces, and ask, "Is he yours?" And I would have to tell them, no, I'm just his cab driver taking him to and from school.
For some reason I don't remember what school he attended, but I sure remember where he lived. I do know I first picked him up at school, because I sure remember meeting his mother.
He lived in an apartment complex, and not exactly the best one. But not the worst, either.
I walked him to the door and knocked on it. What answered almost made me gasp.
She was horrible. Fat, ugy and had dentures at about 30. I was so aghast I thought I had the wrong address, so I asked,
"Does he live here?"
Yes, he did, and yes, she was his mother. The contrast between him and her...imagine Rosanne Barr (before plastic surgery) giving birth to Brad Pitt. It was that bad.
She turned out to be a pretty nice person, although she was clearly on welfare. Otherwise, how would she support her kid? The father? Never heard a word about him.
This kid wasn't any problem, but did two odd things. One time a tiny little white moth got into my car. I didn't think anything of it, but it stopped on the front passenger-side window and fluttered there.
This kid, whose name I remember as Eric, leaned toward me, squinched his eyes shut, turned bright red - and then his right arm shot straight out and began to bounce up and down.
I stopped the car and let the moth out, then told Eric it was gone.
I guess Eric had never seen a moth before and for all he knew it might has well have been some monster that would have bit, clawed and stung him. Moth, hornet, pterodactyl - what's the difference to a five-year-old who ain't quite right?
(Parenthetically, that's not the only time I dealt with an insect in the car. Once we had a cicada infestation, and one of the trillion buzzing around landed on my front seat. The six-year-old girl in the back seat leaned forward, said "Oh, there it is!" at which time it flew into the back seat, sending her squinched into the corner and screaming, "I'm scared of it! It's going to bite me and sting me!" Again I stopped the car to shoo it out.)
There was one other thing Eric did, and it turned out it was a habit until I realized he was doing it and put a stop to it.
When I went home that night and was about to get out of the car, I noticed something really odd about the front passenger window.
There were several streaks on snot on the window, with a booger at the end of each streak.
I was puzzled. Who the hell did that, and how did they do it without me knowing it?
Turrned out it was Eric.
The next day I turned my head away from him for a second and then turned it back. I caught him digging a booger out of his nose and wiping it on my window. He did it in a second, and it only did it when I had my head turned.
Of course I read him the riot act. He was not to wipe boogers on my window! I did not care to clean his boogers and snot off my window!
He never did it again.
Boy, what a sneaky little kid!
I guess he'd be in his early 20s now. Sometimes I wonder about him. He would never have a job. Does he still live with his mom? In a group home?
I also wonder what happened when he hit puberty. As I said, he was gorgeous and I can imagine what some women might do with that.