Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Cab Ride

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 were  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  betreated.'

'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.

great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully 
wrapped in what others may consider a small  one.


You won't get any big  surprise
in 10 days if you send 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 

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

 This piece came through my email this morning and it touched me deeply... hence I thought I would share it with you and see if you feel anything.... (at all).

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