A New York Taxi Driver wrote this..
I arrived at the address and honked the horn.After waiting a few minutes, I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about driving away, but instead I parked my car 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, like somebody out of 1940's movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one lived there for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the wall, 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 slowly walked toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing' I told her.. I just 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 her address and then asked 'Can you drive 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 the hospice.'
I looked in the rear view window. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice, 'the doctor said I don't have much time left.' 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 once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had pulled me up front of a funiture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she asked me to drive slow in front of a particualr building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
At the first hint of the sun was creasing the horzion, she suddenly said 'I'm tired. Lets 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 a portico.
Two orderlies came out of the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been excepting her.
I opened the trunk and took out 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 down 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 morning dim light.. Behid me, the door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick any passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of the day, I could hardly talked. What of that woman got an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I 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 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.