On December 27th an announcement was made by our company. Kelvin had passed away. Kelvin was a driver for us for many years. He was tall, had a deep voice, unkempt hair and sort of a beard. He also spoke multiple languages, had an amazing grasp of history and art and cultures. If you needed singles or change for your cash bag, he was the first to offer it up. He was a father and seemed to be estranged from his children, but never really went into why. Most of all, to us, his name was Tully.
The first time we met, he was yelling at me in the parking lot because I was not moving my cab out of the space fast enough. The second time I met him was in the shop. While he was doing his paperwork and reconciling his trip log he was telling off a younger driver for making fun of his accent. I assumed that he was a cold and hard man. Parts of him were. That said, the man had a passion for robust discussion and sharing his thoughts on God, philosophy, history, science and art.
Coming from an Orthodox background he had a huge respect for clergy and always greeted me as reverend. He always wanted to share his thoughts with me in the hopes of my agreement. Truth? Often he was speaking above me and I was learning from him. Especially in matters of church history.
My impressions about Tully are not what matters. We would speak briefly during shift changes and there are people who knew him longer that could describe him better. What matters is that he did not die alone.
He had been ill for awhile. With no health care and limited funds, it was hard to get the care he needed. So his illness grew until his mind and body could fight no more. He was in St Joe's hospital and it was obvious he would not live through the night. He did not have anyone else to call. He called our operations manager. Our boss.
Two men sat together with a hand being held. Two men stood in that uncertain threshold between life and death. Two men until there was only one man.
I don't know if he had a memorial. I don't know what the state did with his things. I don't know if his children know. I know men like Tully are often forgotten and moments like his passing are forgotten as well. That is our loss.
His name was Kelvin. We called him Tully. He didn't die alone.