In a matter of seconds, it was all over. My cab was stopped in the middle lane of the highway. The smell of burning electricity and fuel filled the chilly air. I turned to my passenger. She was badly shaken up but said she was OK. The fleece I had on was smoldering; I put it out, then called my dispatcher. He would call a tow truck for my cab and another taxi to pick up my passenger.
Standing among the wreckage and backed-up traffic, I could hear the faint sounds of emergency vehicles approaching. Another damaged car was in the ditch. The driver told me that a car apparently lost control on a patch of black ice, struck him, and pushed his car into mine.
The whole scene now was like a movie set, with lights flashing and voices yelling. A cab from another company came by in the now-long line of neck stretchers. He asked my passenger if she wanted to go with him on to the airport. She was anxious to get on her way, so I wished her well and retrieved her bag from the trunk. With tears coming down her cheek, she gave me a $20 bill and told me, "I hope things work out for you." A sweet angel in the horror of that moment.