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Monday, August 8, 2016

The Cab Ride

August 8, 2016

Good morning.  Today's post will be a bit different.  A couple days ago I received an email that really moved me, and I thought I would share it here with you. 

THE CAB  RIDE  (author unknown)

I arrived at the address that had telephoned for a cab and honked the horn.  After waiting a few minutes I honked again.  Since this was going to be the last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up 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, looked 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 knick knacks 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 neighborhoods where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.

She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that once had 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 the sun was cresting 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 answered.  "You have to make a living," she said.  "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.  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.


At the bottom of this great story was a request to forward this  ---- I deleted that request because if you have read to this point, you won't have to be asked to pass it a long.  You just will.  Thank you, my friend. 

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

I thanked my friend for passing this story along to me.  As I read it, I thought of how my grandchildren, Kevin and Jazzy treated my Aunt Lucy when we went shopping the other day.  They did not grumble because she was old and slow, they chatted and laughed with her, held her arm when she walked, and helped her look for things she might want at the craft store.  When we took Lucy home, the kids carried her bundles into the house, while helping her in to the house too.

Need I say how proud I am of those kids? (and my daughter and son in law who raised them?)  I know they'll be good to me like that when I am old too.  (they already are)

So, to my friend, thank you again.  Big hugs, Edna B.


Andrea @ From The Sol said...

I am so glad I decided to choose this day to come visit you. I know I have been in la la land and remiss in keeping up with my friends, while you have been a loyal friend all along. This story touched my heart because I don't see much kindness or thoughtfulness out there these days. People are rude and self serving, not considering at all how they effect other's feelings only interested in their own ... the "Me" generation they call it and rightly so. But, this story is wonderful and it gives me hope that there are people out there that have good hearts ... like your grandchildren and children ... and you.

The best part of this article though is not what you would expect ... it is when you said "I know they'll be good to me like that when I am old too. (they already are)" I whole heartedly agree that we are not old yet, but some days we need to be reminded of it ... and you, my friend, just reminded me that I don't have to feel old today :) Thank you for that ... sometimes we all need a kick in the patoot :)

As for Izzie, she is doing well, but her recovery has been slow and in the process she has resigned herself to being a fat old lady. Because of the heat, I have to literally drag her out on her walks that she needs to do to rebuild the muscle in her leg ... oh she will move on her own once we get to the halfway point and she knows we are headed home, so I know she can do it. I think she misses being able to play her favorite games (Frisbee and agility) so her laziness is really a bit of sadness. We will play Frisbee again, only a much more muted version so she doesn't leap and twist and turn and spin ... those behaviors are what did her in. And we will go to our agility skills class again for the exercise and she will run revised courses so she doesn't make quick turns of high jumps ... but those will make her happy again, hopefully. We go back to the Vet tomorrow to get a final check up on the leg ... hopefully it will be a good report.

On the up side, my kids are both working full time so we only see them on the weekends. They will be going back to Thailand during the winter months to be with her family ... I won't be going again this year, but maybe next. We are all going to Niagara Falls in September for a long weekend ... that will be fun. My friend finally sold her house and moved into a smaller (more manageable)house. I am still helping her unpack boxes, but slowly she is starting her new life and the stresses are receding. She will hopefully be going to Niagara with us. So that's my update, my friend. Thank you for your patience and friendship. Love your porch ... it is perfect for you and Pogo. Be well, my "not old" friend :)and a be hug for Pogo.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Mary Ann Roesler said...

I am finally catching up on your blog...I knew you would like this and it fit in so well after your comment about your grandchildren. Your example through life is now seen in their eyes and they will always remember the time spent with you and Aunt Lucy.