The Cab Ride

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by metalman, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    I received this today. True or not it's a nice story


    Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.

    When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away.

    But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

    So 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 80'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 1940s 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, or any 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 and 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 treated".

    "You’re a good boy", she said.

    When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and 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. "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 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.

  2. Hope

    Hope New Member

    Just wish I could rep you twice, Winston.... thanks :smile2:
    I needed that!

  3. River_monster91

    River_monster91 New Member

    central kansas
    that there is a dang good ol' story
  4. rosscatman

    rosscatman Member

    SW Ohio
    Now thats a great story.
  5. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Great story Winston!
  6. postbeetle

    postbeetle New Member

    Winston: Excellent story. I am a hard nut to crack. Come by and pick my shells up off the floor. Thanks- John
  7. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Winston Thanks for sharing a beautiful story. Also a reminder to have more patience.:big_smile:
  8. barrelbritches

    barrelbritches New Member

    all of us should look at our selves and see if a when our turn will come to help someone. thanks for the story
  9. Smuggo

    Smuggo New Member

    This is a true story...

    When I was a young man I was asked by an elderly lady to do some yard work for her. It was late Fall and all the leaves had fallen and her yard needed a good raking. It was a pretty big job that took about 5 hrs to rake and bag her leaves and carry the bags to the curb for pick up. She was polite and offered me drinks and snacks as I completed my task. She seemed to enjoy having someone around to lend a hand and share some idle conversation. When I was finished she proudly gave me $10.00 and thanked me with a smile. I accepted her payment (thinking I was just used for cheap labor) but because she was such a kind lady I chalked it up as a learning experience and said goodbye. On the way home I met some of my friends at a local watering hole to throw darts and I invested my $10 spot in a poker machine and won $200.00...

    God may not have approved of my gambling but I think I was rewarded for the courtesy I extended to a nice old lady.

    I did other odd jobs for her after that and her payments were always in line for handyman type jobs...sometimes it makes you wonder.
  10. Esox Hunter

    Esox Hunter New Member

    Birmingham U.K.
    Nice story W, (regards to Chesterfield b.t.w.)

    I was reading another story in general conversation yesterday (posted by TopSgtLawrence i think) about how his kindness to an old gentleman paid dividends and BOTH tales immediately jogged my memory & reminded me of this poem we were taught in primary school back home. Please note I'm NOT the religious type, but it's the best poetic example of kindness i can think of.

    The Ballad Of Father Gilligan (W.B. Yeats)

    The old priest Peter Gilligan,
    Was weary night and day;
    For half his flock were in their beds,
    Or under green sods lay.

    Once, while he nodded in a chair,
    At the moth-hour of the eve;
    Another poor man sent for him,
    And he began to grieve.

    "I have no rest, nor joy, nor peace,
    For people die and die";
    And after, cried he "God forgive,
    My body spake, not I"

    He knelt, and leaning on the chair,
    He prayed and fell asleep;
    And moth-hour, it went from the fields,
    And stars began to peep.

    They slowly into millions grew,
    And leaves shook in the wind;
    And God covered the world with shade,
    and whispered to mankind.

    Upon the time of sparrow chirp,
    When the moths did come once more;
    The old priest Peter Gilligan,
    Stood UPRIGHT on the floor

    "Mavrone Mavrone, the man has died,
    While I slept in the chair";
    He roused his horse out of it's sleep,
    And rode with little care.

    He rode now as he never rode,
    By rocky lane and fen;
    The sick man's wife, opened the door,
    ........"Father......"You come again?"

    "And is the poor man dead?", he cried,
    ......"He died an hour ago";
    The old priest, Peter Gilligan,
    In grief, swayed to and fro.

    ...."When you were gone, he turned and died,
    As merry as a bird";
    The old priest Peter Gilligan,
    He knelt down at that word.

    "He who hath made the night of stars,
    For souls who tire and bleed,
    Sent one of his great angels down
    To help me in my need...

    ...For HE who's wrapped, in purple robes,
    with planets in his care,
    Had pity on the least of things,
    Asleep, upon a chair"


    I'm just guessing here, but I think the poem is set during the famine. (1845-1848)

    Tight Lines And Good Luck!
  11. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Time and energy put out to help others is always time and energy well spent.
    A couple of Sundays ago Phyllis and I spent the day doing yard work for a couple of her aged aunts.
    Usual stuff, cutting grass, pruning, cleaning gutters. It was really hot outside and we were both beat by the end of it.
    It was the best tired I have been in a long time...