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Sarnia: Security Hot Spots II
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Sarnia: Security Hot Spots II

During my life in Sarnia I have held down several jobs to keep the wolves away from the door. One of these jobs was a taxi driver. I really enjoyed that job and for the most part the people were terrific. I remember one day that dispatch sent me to a gas station on Front Street to pick up a middle eastern gentleman who was heading across the bridge to the United States. I liked those trips because we were normally paid in american currency, which at that time was higher than our dollar.

When I got to the gas station my fare was pretty unkempt and I was a bit leery of taking him aboard. It was a slow day so helped him with his luggage and we took off for Port Huron on the other side of the bridge. About half way across and listening to the conversation I thought that I may have made a mistake. Very bad command of the language and of a suspicious manner didn't serve his purpose well. We were already half-way across the bridge and too late to do anything about it anyway, so forward march.

At last we reached customs booth and were asked for our citizenship and where we were going. I told her that I was going to Port Huron and that my fare would probably want to speak to customs as he wasn't too familiar with the area. That was really unnecessary anyway as that was where she was about to send him anyway. I went in went in with him and could hardly believe my ears. The questioning went as follows:

Q: What is the purpose of your visit and where are you going?

A: I would like to go to Phoenix.

Q: Who do you know in Phoenix?

A: No one.

Q: What is the purpose of your visit?

A: Well Sir, recently I have started to collect stamps, specializing in American Stamps. I thought where better to buy American Stamps but in America.

Q: So you are going all the way to Phoenix Arizona to buy some American Stamps is that correct?

A: Yes, Sir.

At this point I believe that the customs officer was going to have some fun with this guy. he proceeded to pass him off to other agents to let them have a go at him. Really, I just couldn't believe my ears. A grade school kid could have come up with better answers than that. It was truly hilarious. The customs agent shot me a look and said we don't need you in here go sit in your cab. Didn't take me long to comply, I was gone.

I was watching through the window from my cab and those agents really gave that guy a rough time , having him remove his coat, submit to a search, and emptying his pockets. He was in there for over 1 1/2 hours before they released him to me for transportation to Sarnia. The amazing thing that happened on our way back was that he went through an amazing transformation. He was no longer that unkempt , disheveled man to a bright well spoken, highly educated man.

Upon our arrival back in town I told him that I was sorry that he didn't get across. He did not seem to be too bothered about and he told me that he had a very successful weekend. He had wanted to accomplish two things, spend the weekend in Sarnia and to visit the United States. He went on to add that anytime you can achieve 50% of what you are looking for than that is a success.

I dropped him off at the bus depot where he paid me in U.S. Dollars and didn't even complain about the waiting time that he was charged. It was a profitable day that day. I came to realize a few days later that what his real mission was, I believe, he was checking out security procedures at the Bluewater Bridge. Although I firmly believe that the front line of defense would have sent him into secondary anyway, I like to feel that I had some small part in aiding border security. It really irks me at times to here Homeland Security and the American Media go on a rant about our porous border and lax security features.


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