The Cab Ride

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My sister-in-law just shared this touching story with me and I just
had to share it here. I hope you all are just as moved as I was when
I read it.

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 and 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.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day. Terry

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