The Cab Ride

There comes a time when you get an email and you have to pass it along – this is one of them.

I arrived at the address and honked the horn.  After waiting a few minutes
I walked to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.  A small woman in her 90’s  stood before me.  She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said.  I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’   ‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice.. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’   I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked. For the next two  hours, we drove through the city.  She showed me
the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the  neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds   She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.  We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were Solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. “‘How much do I owe you?’  She asked, reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing,’ I said.  ‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.  ‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. ‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said.  ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..  I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.

You won’t get any big surprise in 10 days if you pass this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder
and more compassionate by sending it on and reminding us that often it is the random acts of kindness that most benefit all of us.

Thank you, my friend…

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.  ~Author Unknown


12 thoughts on “The Cab Ride

    • Yes I agree and most of the time all it takes is just a little of our time – but most are too busy to slow down and see that

  1. This is exactly what I was speaking about in my article. This little lady was a complete stranger; yet the young man took the time to show her Love and Compassion. What a Blessing! It just brings tears to your eyes. Thank you Nancy!

  2. yes very sad but true older people need understanding also and as much love as we can give i think the cab driver did a very nice thing we need more like him ty for shareing this you have a nice day too your friend robert

  3. Nancy,

    That was beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time. It made me think of my Grandma and how she must feel all alone, no matter how much time I spend with her. I know she is grateful, but I also know she is lonely and longs to be filled with life once again. Her time will come soon enough and I will be sad for my loss, as selfish as that is.
    Thank you Nancy, for making me cry.

    • Well we cried together and you have a real jewel there with your grandma – I love it when you share her with us – she is such a sweetie – would just love to give her a big hug 🙂

  4. Very nicely done Nancy. I wish man once told me that its not the type of clothes a person wears or the type of car a person drives or even how much money a person has in the bank, it’s the type of person you are that people remember you by.

    • Oh I agree Ken – and you know all the money and materials things can’t buy you happiness if you can’t love yourself and you are the only one besides God that know the REAL you

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