Thursday, December 8, 2011

Please take the time to read this....makes you think

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.


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


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


'Would you carry my bag

out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase

to the cab, then returned to assist the


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


'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


'Oh, I don't mind,' she

said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a


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


'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

neighbourhood 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


Sometimes she'd ask me to slow

in front of a particular building or corner and

would sit staring into the darkness, saying


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


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.


opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to

the door. The woman was already seated in a


'How much do I owe you?'

She asked, reaching into her


'Nothing,' I


'You have to make a living,' she


'There are other

passengers,' I responded.


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


'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?


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.


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






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



Boyett-Brinkley said...

I seem to be quick to tears these days and this sent me right over the edge. Thank you for reminding me that sometimes the smallest things mean the most.

magsmcc said...

My goodness. This is certainly making me think.

Scrappy quilter said...

Beautiful!! Hugs

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

A lovely story Gill, and a perfect reminder, especially when our lives seem to be running full speed...Thanks for sharing.

Rose said...

This is just so true...I often wonder how many big moments I have missed by being in a hurry.
At our little local grocery store, they have some of the greatest little cashiers. I am always seeing some of them being kind to older people. It warms my heart to see them.

JohnD said...

Yes! I can identify with the 'cab driver'.

As a Home Living Support Service volunteer driver I get to drive a lot of people, Mostly frail aged, to different destinations. To specialists, hospitals, clinics for some fairly severe treatments. I've watched them age during their treatments, lose their hair and energy, become breathless and weaker but they never lose that 'spark' in their eyes as they tell me about themselves and their families. I sonetimes even drive them on their penultimate ride to a nursing home and/or a hospice.

In the past year, 2011, five of my regular clients have died from the ailments they have been treated for.

I have had many a long chat with them on our journies. They are only too willing to go down 'memory lane' and tell me about their lives, growing up in far distant eras, surving World Wars, etc. They are full of stories on the history of the region and its inhabitants.

I also believe in treating them like they are one of my own family!

angela said...

this is beautiful, brought a tear to my eyes.

Carletta said...

Beautiful post Gill!
Thanks for sharing it.