Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Last 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 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, she gave me an address and then asked,  'Could you drive through downtown?'
 

      An old lady getting into a waiting cab

'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.



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 ,WHILE WITH YOU OR AWAY FROM YOU.



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. 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.'

The old lady receiving a kind hearted visitor at the hospice


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?

You might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on and on,reminding us that often it is the random acts of kindness that most benefit all of us.
Thank you, ..



This short touching story has been circulated in the net mails for years. It is coming back round and round the earth many times over. It is a good read; it makes you wonder how humanity in the form of kindness can affect one’s life positively. The identity of the original writer remained unknown.


Alan CY Kok

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