Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Cab Ride

This is beautiful. You WILL need kleenex.

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 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 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 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 drive 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 on to 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.


Thank you, John, for forwarding this story to me. I loved it. I believe all my friends who read it will love it. I don't know if it is a true story, but it made me take pause. I hope that I can be patient and loving with strangers that I might meet along my journey, even if only for a moment.

♥ audrey


Linda in New Mexico said...

This is a wonderful, wonderful story. Thank you dear lady.

Anonymous said...

Thank You.....Every once in a while we need to reminded how to treat our fellow man.

Diva Kreszl said...

thank you for sharing this beautiful heartwarming story!

Anna Rosa Designs said...

Hi Audrey,
This is a beautiful story.
Reminds me we should slow down and think about others a bit more often.

yoborobo said...

Hi Audrey! You know, it doesn't matter if it really happened or not, because it is true. :) And we all need to be patient with the elderly, and those around us that aren't on the same rush-rush-hurry-hurry clock. It's something I need to remember, and I tried to remind myself of when my kids were little. Grab the little moments and hold on tight. :) Xoxo Pam

Jan said...

this story made me feel good for the rest of the day, thanks for sharing it. And thanks for your comments on my spring flower post too.

Emelie said...

I have enjoyed your blog very much and the story of a person who took time. I visited families for years that had varios problems, one day a woman said to me, I know I am not invisible, a dog barked when I walked by. Anothr woman said, I wish people would stop for a cup of coffee instead of bringing me bags of old clothes, these kind of statments speak loudly of lonely lives and people who need others to reach out.

Your photography is a joy also, beautiful thing to appreciate such as interesting doors, designs in buildings, and then of course not to enjoy are the things that storms do to trees we love.