While I don’t normally post those often special e-mail stories that come into our e-mailboxes everyday, I am making an exception for this beautiful one that brought me to tears in its reading (yet again):

The  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, ‘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 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.  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  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.’

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?

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.


You won’t get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on and  reminding us that often it is the random acts of  kindness that most benefit all of  us.

Thank you, my  friend, for sharing a tear with me over such a beautiful story of human compassion and kindness . . .

PS: Since posting this I Googled its title to see if credit should be given to a source and came across this author/speaker, Kent Nerburn, who seems to be its source.  To learn more about Kent, <– just click on his name here.