“Olen inva-auto kuljettaja.” (I am a driver of a vehicle that transports those who are mobility challenged.)

When I deliver my customers, safely and efficiently, I ensure they get home. When approaching their apartment door, especially if they have handed me their keys, I usually ask,

“Onko sinulla kissa tai koira kotona?” (Do you have a cat or dog at home?)

“Ei! Ei!,” little old ladies normally exclaim. (No! No!)

To which I quip, “Entä aligatori?” (How about an alligator?)

They always smile.

Once, a nice, older woman responded, “Ja ei ole haukkuva mies!” (And no barking man either!)

I couldn’t help but laugh. She was a trip.

My elderly customers are sweet, gentle and kind.

When they say they are old I always respond with,

“Ei! Sinä olet nuori vielä, nuori sydän… nuori sielu…” (No! You are still young, young at heart… young soul…)

Then they say, “Kiitos.” (Thank you.)

“Ole hyvä,” I reply. (You’re welcome.)

I can see the young woman she used to be just by looking into her eyes for a brief moment.

She may have grown up in a small village.

She may have come from a large family.

She may have moved to Helsinki to study or work.

She may have gathered good friends at Hietsu Beach for a Saturday afternoon of sunbathing and fun.

She may have gone to the local market every Saturday morning like clockwork.

She may have chased her dreams and ambitions and inspired others.

She may have been with her husband for a very long time until he passed.

She may have raised wonderful children and grandchildren.

She may know what true love is and all the secrets of the universe.

It is I who should say “Kiitos.”