Finding Friendship, Without A Phone

Jerry Footlick is a newcomer to Westport. At the urging of his daughters Robbyn (who lives here) and Jill (who lives nearby), he moved here from North Carolina after his wife died. 

The other day, he had a “Westport experience.” He wanted to share it with “06880” readers, in his new home. It’s a great story. Thanks — and welcome, Jerry!

A few evenings ago I attended an event in Manhattan. As I boarded the train back, I found that I had carelessly allowed my phone battery to go dead. The conductor shrugged, and chose to believe I really had a ticket hidden on that phone.

When I got off the train in Westport, I realized I had no way to call a taxi, an Uber, or my daughter.

No taxis in sight. But the tale has a happy ending.

In the parking lot, I asked a likely-looking gentleman where I might find a taxi. You’re on the wrong side, he said. After I had walked under the tracks, I discovered that all the bars and restaurants, where I might have called a taxi, were closed,

My plan, such as it was, was to hope for the arrival of a taxi or a police cruiser. Then the gentleman who had guided me pulled up; he had driven his car around to where I was standing.

“Where are you going?” he asked. I told him. He said, “I live near there. Hop in!” He trusted me. I trusted him.

I noted his British accent. He said he had been raised in London, and his name was Simon. I said I had a son-in-law who lives in Westport, had been raised in London, and whose name was Simon.

I said I had spent a fellowship year in London at the London School of Economics. He said he attended the LSE.

He said he had had a flat in Richmond, which led us to “Ted Lasso,” its real-life pub, and its real-life restaurant. As we arrived at my residence, he said he had a friend living there and to give her his love (I did).

By that time we seemed like old pals.

I don’t know if I was just lucky, or if Westport is really a friendly town.

13 responses to “Finding Friendship, Without A Phone

  1. This points out a real problem: now that pay phones have disappeared, what if someone has a medical emergency, or is being harassed, and they don’t have a working cellphone? In their typical cluelessness, our state utility regulators (PURA) have allowed the telecom oligopoly to shirk their longstanding duty to provide emergency communications at places like train stations and highway exits..I bet there are people who have died as a result.

  2. Believe

  3. We are nice people in Westport.

  4. I needed this story,
    thank you

  5. I’d like to believe the latter, that “Westport is really a friendly town” – of course, being lucky never hurts

  6. I feel lucky to live in a town as friendly as Westport. Welcome!

  7. It’s a great town. And it goes both ways – you both felt connected, and safe.

  8. Isabelle Breen

    Yes, allowing and individual or getting into a strangers car (these days) requires trust. A few years ago I was checking out at the Cumbie’s gas station when a woman was asking the attendant how often the Coastal link comes through. He replied one the hour and she’s just missed one. Seeing she was a Senior I asked her where she was going and she replied Bridgeport. I was just on my way to work in Milford, so I said if she lived near an exit I could take her most of the way home. She accepted and we got in my car. I brought her to an area off of exit 25, she thanked me and walked her few blocks home. I think it surprised us both.

  9. Charming story.

  10. We never locked our doors at night in the 1950s, in Westport, and never gave it a second thought. People would hitchhike and wouldn’t be afraid. In 1955, this story wouldn’t even be newsworthy. In 1963, I hitchhiked from Putnam, Ct. to Westport. At age 10, in 1957, I took the CR&L bus alone, from Beardsley Park, switched downtown to the Norwalk route, and got off at the Maple Avenue stop in Westport! Don’t we all miss those times?

  11. Welcome to Westport!