Monday, February 9, 2009



So, I received a bill--our utilities bill--in the mail today. Not my favorite thing to receive especially when we are anxiously waiting to hear back from the schools Todd applied to. But, with this bill came a newsletter. Every bill we get comes with a community newsletter and a message from our Mayor and honestly, I normally just throw it in the trash. This time I read it and I'm glad I did. He shared an inspirational story called "The Cab Ride" (author anonymous) and I want to share it with you! I know, it's pretty sentimental, but sentimental is okay sometimes.

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 90s 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 movie.
By her side sat a small nylon suitcase. The apartment appeared as if no one had lived in it for years. All of 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 to the car?" she inquired. I took the suitcase to the cab and 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 treated." "Oh, you're such a good boy," she said.
Once we were both 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 am 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 would 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 am 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 as she stepped from the cab. They must have been expecting her, worried about the delay.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already sesated 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. I thanked her, squeezed herhand, 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 at the end of his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once and then driven away? After some heartfelt reflection, I don't think I have done anything more important in my entire life.

Take what you want from that story. Today it helped me remember that everyone is important, and that I shouldn't rush through my day thinking of only myself. I hope that I can treat everyone I come in contact with like gold.


whit said...

WOW what a neat story!! That gave me the chills!

Kayla R. said...

I totally agree!!

Rachel and Todd said...

Yeah, Whit. As I started reading it I thought it was going to be a spooky story or something, but then I remembered it was in a newsletter from the Mayor, and then I read on. It's kinda chilling.