Many years ago I worked as a taxi cab driver.
One time I had to pick up a passenger in the middle of the night. When I arrived at the address, the building was dark, except a light in a ground floor window. Many drivers would wait just honk, wait for a couple of minutes and drive away in such circumstances. But I thought of passengers that might need my assistance.
Therefore I always went to the door and knocked. So I did the same this time too. I heard a weak voice of an elderly woman: “Just a minute”. The door opened and I saw a small lady in her 80’s, wearing a dress and a pillbox hat. She had a small suitcase in her hands.
So I took the lady‘s suitcase and helped her to walk to the cab. “Thank you for your kindness” – she said. “It’s nothing,” – I said. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”.
“You are a very decent person”.
When we got into the cab, she told the address and asked: “Could you drive through downtown?”. I told her, that it was not the shortest way. “I know, but there is no rush, as I am on my way to a hospice. I have no family left”. I noticed tears in her eyes.
I quietly switched off the meter and asked, what route would she like me to take. While we drove through the city, the old lady showed me the places, that were important to her. The building, where she worked as an elevator operator. The house, where she and her husband lived just after the marriage. The warehouse, where was a ballroom many years ago, so she went dancing there, when she was a young girl.
After two hours of driving she silently said: “I‘m tired, let‘s go now”.
As soon as we arrived at the address she gave me, two elderly came out to the cab. They seemed to be waiting for her. I took the lady’s suitcase, while she was seated in a wheelchair. “Tell me, how much do I owe you?” she asked. I said, that she owes me nothing. “But you have to make a living”. “There are other passengers”, – I replied and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “Thank you for giving me those moments of joy”, – she said.
When I was walking to the cab, I heard a door shut. I thought to myself that it sounded like closing of person’s life.
That day I did not pick up any more passengers, I just drove without any purpose, lost in thoughts about the old lady. What if she had gotten an angry or indifferent driver, who was impatient to end his shift? I seems to me that this drive was the most important thing I’ve done in my life.
Lesson to learn
We always look for a great moments, but sometimes great moments catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what might be considered as nothing particular.