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Last Cab Ride


                            Last  Cab Ride 

I  arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few  minutes I honked again. Since  this was going to be the last ride of my shift I thought about just  driving away, but instead I put the car in park 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 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.



(from an email)

Entry #617


MADDOG10Comment by MADDOG10 - June 21, 2013, 11:42 pm
Beautiful, and really drives home a point doesn't it...?
sully16Comment by sully16 - June 22, 2013, 9:49 am
Thanks Ridge, thats a beautiful story, and a good reminder.
emilygComment by emilyg - June 22, 2013, 12:32 pm
Thank you - sob

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