Jerry looked up when I honked. Standing in front of Harmony Hall and mesmerized by the glow of his cell phone, I don’t know how long I would have waited before he looked around. With a nod, Jerry stumbled down othe curb in my direction. Winters in Michigan can be blustery, and the winds were kind that night. Had a strong west wind been blowing down Bridge St, I don’t know if Jerry would have kept his feet under him.

“Hi Jerry, how are you tonight?”

“Umm . . .  I’mgood, prettygoodt’night.”

I hit the button on my phone to start the ride, and after a couple turns, Jerry looked up from his phone. “Youregoin’thewrongway.”

I was having a hard time hearing Jerry through his alcoholic brogue. “I’m sorry, what?”


“I’m headed toward the address you entered in the app. Do you live up on top of the Bridge St Hill?”


I pulled the car to the curb. “Oh, OK. No problem. What is your address?”

Jerry blindly stared into the snowy night. I didn’t know if my question registered yet.

“Jerry, I need your address so I can take your home. What is your address?”

“Ummm . . . One . . . One . . . Six . . . One.”

“OK, 1161 what?”

A long silence filled the car before my rider admitted, “I don’t know.”

“Well, I need your address before I can get you home Jerry.”

“I live in Heritage Hill. Jus’ drivvve.”

“You live in Heritage Hill? Up on top of the Michigan St. hill?” I needed to confirm his reply.


Luckily Heritage Hill isn’t large, and Grand Rapids isn’t that big of a town. So rather than argue with the drunk in my back seat, I put the car back in drive, and headed the opposite direction from the address originally entered in the app.

As we crested the Michigan St Hill, Jerry spit out, “Turn right here.” After a few blocks of bantering about the music and the weather,  he commanded, “Turn left here.”

I hoped we were making progress, but after a couple miles, Heritage Hill was behind us, and I was on my way to East Town.

“Hey Jerry, I’m crossing Diamond St, and Fuller is right ahead. We’ve driven out of Heritage Hill. Are we anywhere near your house?” I wasn’t expecting the best line of the night.

“Well . . . you were awhile ago.”

After driving around Heritage Hill, and stumbling across his street, I eventually got Jerry home. He climbed out and meandered up the driveway at 161 Union St.