Taxi driver Garry Thurgate is thanked by Charmaine Watters for the extra help he gives her driving her around town. Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Taxi driver Garry Thurgate is thanked by Charmaine Watters for the extra help he gives her driving her around town. Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Cabbies’ soul in top gear

SOMETIMES it's the smallest act of kindness that can make someone's day.

This is especially true for Grafton resident Charmaine Watters, who suffers from severe osteoarthritis in her legs and back and often has trouble getting around.

Each Wednesday Ms Watters takes a taxi into town, and each week local drivers go the extra mile by giving her extra time to get in and out of taxis, helping to carry her groceries to the door, and making as many short trips as she needs.

"They are a great bunch of girls and guys, without them I wouldn't be able to live," she said.

"Mr Thurgate was brilliant the other day.

"I was having a really bad day and in a lot of pain. I think he knew that and... helped out and let me lean on him; he carries the groceries down the hill to the door every time I do shopping."

Coming to terms with her debilitating disease has been a struggle for the 51-year-old, who spent most of her adult life raising three children and looking after others.

"I never thought I'd be in this position; I always used to walk or ride everywhere," Ms Watters said.

"It's not nice to be dependent, I just had to learn new ways to do everything."

Up until a couple of years ago, Ms Watters was able to get around on a tricycle called Grace - named so because it gave her her life back -- to pay bills and buy groceries.

Grace was resigned to the shed when the disease made it too difficult to ride, and since then she has been taking taxis.

During the rest of the week, her daughters also look after her and help her out whenever they can.

"I've got three of the best kids in the universe," she said.

"They say you're here for a good time, not a long time, but I'm going to live to 100 because I want to be here to see all my kids get married and I want to be a nonna of a big family."



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