Dr. Martens Vs the Korean Taxi Driver
Slightly distracted by the spring heat and deep in thought about what I would be teaching during the day’s lesson, I began walking in a zombie-like trance across the parking lot. Unexpectedly, a taxi-van appeared out of nowhere, raced across two lanes of traffic, and pulled into the department store parking lot without stopping for the pedestrian crossing.
The front wheel drove over my right foot. Surprised, the taxi driver stopped with alarming precision. The van was now balanced directly on my foot.
Immobilized, I began yelling, “Get off!! Back up!!” along with several profanities in both French and English (still a virgin in the Korean language at that time).
The Korean driver understood nothing I was yelling, so I began banging on the van’s hood. Confused, the driver jumped out of the van, ran around the vehicle, and nearly passed out when he saw my foot wedged under his tire.
Finally the driver backed off and jumped back out of his vehicle.
Limping, and running around like a chicken without a head, I lunged at the man. But I hadn’t noticed the man’s size. This man was huge. It turns out he was a retired military man and probably a triple black belt. With ease he caught my feeble cheep shot with his left hand and swung his right hand under my body. He picked me up and tossed me in the back of his taxi and drove me to the nearest hospital.
Several x-rays and two hours later, the doctor tossed on a bandage and said you are good to go, just several bruises. However, my Dr. Martens were not so lucky. The right shoe had a permanent tire track imprinted on it. The van driver had long disappeared.
Relieved that I did not have any broken bones, but upset that I would have to find a way home without my right shoe, I began limping to the bus stop. Once again, like a bat out of hell, the driver skidded into the parking lot of the hospital and ran up to me with a fresh pair of Dr. Martins. He must have made dozens phone calls across the city to hunt down the correct shoe and size.
The Korean giant approached and in his Konglish heavy accent he said “I so-ree.”
We shook hands, and went our separate ways.
Moral of the story: Kamikaze they may be, Korean taxi drivers do have hearts. And always wear proper footwear when traveling in foreign countries.