The Ride

The flight into Halifax was late and, as a result, I had missed the bus to Sydney on Cape Breton Island. It would be all day before there was another. As a PhD student on a tight budget, I could not afford to do anything but take the bus so what could I do? The answer was stand in the doorway of the airport periodically asking people if they were headed in that direction and if so, might they give me a ride?

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I stood there for about 30 minutes before two gentlemen approached and told me they may have a ride for me. Not them but a colleague was heading to Cape Breton in a rental car and he may be inclined to give me that ride. Eventually their colleague appeared and he readily agreed to help out a young British student trying to get to Sydney. But he wasn’t going to Sydney and would drop me on reaching Cape Breton.

I walked with him to the rental and jumped in. He had picked out a sporty rental. Something a bit up market.

As we drove he explained to me that they were all members of a delegation of the Progressive Conservative party returning from their annual convention. He had party business in Cape Breton but wasn’t from there. He asked me a lot of questions about Mrs Thatcher and her policies. What I thought about them. What others thought in the UK. I don’t recall the details but he was extremely interested in British politics. He explained that the Liberals were about to be defeated in the next general election in Canada and so there was a great deal of interest in the Thatcher model within the Progressive Conservative party.

It was a good ride and interesting as I learned a good deal about Canadian history and politics. He dropped me on the highway and I started to hitchhike. I got another ride in the back of a truck and arrived in Sydney before the bus would have later that day.

Mr. Brain Mulrooney my driver, went on to be elected the MP for that part of Cape Breton and then, after a landslide win, became PM in Canada.

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