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 Costa Magica. The cruise could not be described as one of the best I have experienced, as the quality and preparation of the food left a lot to be desired. However, it was worth the trip to visit Bermuda and the bonus was meeting a very special human being.
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 will be seventy-eight years young in May. He went on to say he loves himself and because he does, he will not risk his life by reckless driving, so we can all relax, rest assured of a carefree enjoyable day, exploring his beautiful home island of Bermuda.
On our tour that lasted for seven hours 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 shores edge. Traveling alongside bay after bay of tranquility, bathed in glorious sunshine, we were fascinated by 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 name as they passed by. He called them all Rocky. It is a name he gave all 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 lucky getting Mr. Simmons to drive us around the island. Praise indeed 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 along side them and spoke in Portuguese for a few moments. Many times he would say proudly, “They Called me Mr Simmons.” He was not boasting, rather he was acknowledging he is 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 bother or sister embraced in love of his life on earth.
Mr. Simmons depicts joy of life in everything he says and does. He has been given an award by the Queen of England for visiting sick people in hospitals and hospices for the past nineteen years. He will also tell you he had no education to speak of. As a young man he ran away to sea and was a rascal. He will recite all the places in the world that locked him up for a short period of time to cool down. In the early nineteen-sixties he found God and that turned his life around. Although he believes Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior 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.
Along our route he pointed out every church. I think Bermuda has more churches per square mile than Rome. Occasionally, he would burst into a joyful hymn, and if we did not know the words we would hum along with him. His voice was sweet and mellow and every note was in harmony with his Maker. Yes in deed, 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.
All the people of Bermuda we encountered are friendly and treat you as a close neighbor or long lost relative. There are many wealthy people who live in Bermuda but none more prosperous in the richness of life than Mr. Simmons, for 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!