Sometimes, we meet a special person who embodies true wisdom in stature, demeanor, character, spoken words and daily actions. It was my good fortune to meet Mr. Clayton Simmons in Bermuda, on my recent cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Bermuda on the Cost Magica. The cruise could not be described as one of the best I have experienced since the quality and preparation of the food left a lot to be desired. However, it was worth the trip to visit Bermuda; the bonus was meeting a special human being.
Mr. Simmons – you are an inspiration
When we got off the ship docked at The Royal Dockyard, my eyes immediately focused on a man who stood out from all the other taxi drivers. I approached him and asked if he would kindly be our driver and guide for the day. He replied he would be delighted to oblige. There were four people in our party: my wife and our friends, an eighty-two year young doctor and his wife.
When we got in the taxi, Mr. Simmons told us he would be seventy-eight years young in May. He went on to say he loved himself and because he did, he would not risk his life by driving recklessly. We could relax, rest assured of a carefree enjoyable day, exploring his beautiful home island of Bermuda.
On our seven-hour tour, he took us to all the places tourists visit: Hamilton, St Georges, the Botanical Gardens, the lighthouse and the homes of the rich and famous. We stopped at magnificent empty beaches without any human footprints. Crystal clear turquoise water gently lapped upon the shore's edge. We traveled alongside bay after bay of tranquility, bathed in glorious sunshine, with the narration of a man who knows the name of every plant, tree, flower, flora and fauna.
Along our journey many drivers honked their horns and called out Mr. Simmons by name as they passed. He referred to them all as Rocky. It is a name he gave the drivers on the Island, and it has stuck. When we were in Hamilton, the drivers treated us like royalty. They said we had struck gold getting Mr. Simmons to drive us round the island – praise from other island folks who recognize and acknowledge a true free spirit. Even gardeners busy digging stopped to talk to Mr. Simmons as he pulled alongside them and spoke in Portuguese for a few moments.
Many times he would proudly say, "They call me Mr. Simmons". He was not boasting, but rather acknowledging his making a difference in their joy of life. Along our route, he stopped to speak to school children, as well as the old and infirm. Everyone was his brother or sister embraced in love of his life on earth.
Mr. Simmons depicted joy of life in everything he said and did. He was given an award by the Queen of England for visiting sick people in hospitals and hospices for the past nineteen years. He has no education to speak of. As a young man he ran away to sea. He was a rascal. He recited all the places in the world that locked him up for a short period of time to cool down. In the early 1960s he found God. That turned his life around. He respects everyone, religious or not, as long as they have good intent towards other people. His golden rule is to treat everyone as you would like to be treated.
He pointed out every church. I think Bermuda has more churches per square mile than Rome. Occasionally, he would burst into a joyful hymn. If we did not know the words, we would hum along with him. His voice was sweet and mellow, every note was in harmony with his maker. Mr. Simmons is a kind, meek man, who has inherited the spirit of Bermuda, and is willing to share God's grace with everyone he meets and greets.
The people of Bermuda we met were friendly, treated us as close neighbors or long lost relatives. Many wealthy people live in Bermuda, but they may not be more prosperous in the richness of life than Mr. Simmons; he truly has found out money cannot buy happiness – it can only be found in the wisdom of a free spirited soul. God bless you, Mr. Simmons, and long may you reign supreme in all you observe and celebrate in the beautiful paradise island of Bermuda.
If you are planning a visit to Bermuda and would like to contact Mr. Clayton Simmons, feel free to email BootsnAll. They will forward your message to Micheal Levy.
Michael Levy is the author of seven books. His poetry and essays are on many websites, journals and magazines throughout the world. Michael's new book The Joys of Live Alchemy is now available.