A cab driver arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, he pressed the horn again.since this was going to be the last ride of his shift. He thought about just driving away, but instead, he parked the car and walked up to the door to ring the bell.
“Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. He could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before him. She was dressed like a lady out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small 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 decorations or appliances on the counters. There was only a cardboard box filled with photos in the corner.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. He took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to help the woman. She took his arm and they walked slowly to the car. She kept thanking him for his kindness. “It’s nothing”, the cab driver told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated,” he added. “Oh,you’re such a good boy”, the elderly lady said.
When they got into the cab, she gave him an address and then asked, “could you drive through downtown?”. “It doesn’t make any sense”, he replied nervously. “It’s not the shortest way,” he added.
“Oh, I don’t mind”, she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”. He looked in the rear-view mirror and saw her glistening eyes.
“I don’t have any family left”, she continued in a soft voice. “The doctors say I don’t have very long”, The driver quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” he asked.
For the next two hours, the drove through the city. She showed him the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
She made him stop in front of the park where her husband and she shared their first kiss. Then they drove through the neighbourhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.
She had him 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 him 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”.
They drove in silence to the address she had given him. It was a low building, like a small patient home, with a driveway that passes under a patio.
Two stewards came out to the cab as soon as they pulled up. They were kind and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. The cab driver 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. “Noting”, he said. “You have to make a living”, she replied. “There are other passengers”, he responded.
Almost without thinking, he turned and gave her a hug. She held onto him tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy”, she said. He squeezed her hand and then walked into the dim morning light.
Behind the cab driver, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. He didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. He drives aimlessly lost in thought.
For the rest of that day, he could barely talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if he had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? He felt like he had done the most meaningful thing in his 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.
Also read: Be thankful for your journey