I pulled up to the address the dispatcher had directed me
to go. I beeped once and then again but still nobody came to
the door. I walked to the door and
'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 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.
took the suitcase to the cab then returned to assist
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing',
told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way
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 answeredquickly.
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm
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
'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city.
showed me the building where she had once
as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she
her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.
had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse
had once been a ballroom where she had gone
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,
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.
was a low building, like a small convalescent home,
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
'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,'
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim
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
DID, OR WHAT
SAID, ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER
YOU MADE THEM FEEL.
Thank you, dear God for touching the hearts of people to help others who are in need.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are
here we might as well dance.