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Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I
arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for
a single light in a ground floor window. Under these
circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or
twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen
too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as
their only means of transportation. Unless a situation
smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This
passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I
reasoned to myself. 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 80s stood before me. She was wearing a
print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on
it, like somebody out of a 1940s 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 treated". "Oh, you're such a good boy", she
said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address,
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 rearview 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'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, 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.
Author Unknown


I have received this acopule Times in my e-mail from  mrmom's site
I see a message in it every time I read it. It is something I try to
practice everyday. I remember my mother asking one
time if an elderly person was walkin  along side me and
we came to a doorway, would I open it or push past them.
My responce then was I would open it for them, My responce today;
I still do and I pray that someone is there for me when I need assistance.
God Bless
ds_avalon 7/29/02