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
'Would you carry my bag
out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase
to the cab, then returned to assist the
She took my arm and we walked
slowly toward the curb.
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
'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
'It's not the
shortest way,' I answered
'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
We drove through the neighbourhood
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
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
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
'How much do I owe you?'
She asked, reaching into her
'Nothing,' I said
'You have to make a living,' she
'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
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..
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.
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
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
may not be the party we hoped for, but while we
are here we might as well dance.