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The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

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“Great moments often catch us unawares….”

taxi The Cab Ride Ill Never Forget

By Kent Nerburn

There was a time in my life twenty years ago when I was driving a cab for a living.

It was a cowboy’s life, a gambler’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss, constant movement and the thrill of a dice roll every time a new passenger got into the cab.

What I didn’t count on when I took the job was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a rolling confessional. Passengers would climb in, sit behind me in total anonymity and tell me of their lives.

We were like strangers on a train, the passengers and I, hurtling through the night, revealing intimacies we would never have dreamed of sharing during the brighter light of day. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and made me weep.

And none of those lives touched me more than that of a woman I picked up late on a warm August night.

I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or someone going off to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at the address, 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 short minute, then drive away. Too many bad possibilities awaited a driver who went up to a darkened building at 2:30 in the morning.

But I had seen too many people trapped in a life of poverty who depended on the cab as their only means of transportation.

Unless a situation had a real whiff of danger, I always went to the door to find the passenger. It might, I reasoned, be someone who needs my assistance. Would I not want a driver to do the same if my mother or father had called for a cab?

So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail and elderly voice. I could hear the sound of something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman somewhere in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like you might see in a costume shop or a Goodwill store or in a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The sound had been her dragging it across the floor.

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’d like a few moments alone. Then, if you could come back and help me? I’m not very strong.”

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. Her praise and appreciation were almost embarrassing.

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.

“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 should go there. He says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to go?” 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 had first been married. 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 would have me 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. Without waiting for me, they opened the door and began assisting the woman. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her; perhaps she had phoned them right before we left.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase up 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 on to me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

There was nothing more to say.

I squeezed her hand once, then walked out into the dim morning light. Behind me, I could hear the door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I did not pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the remainder 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? What if I had been in a foul mood and had refused to engage the woman in conversation?

How many other moments like that had I missed or failed to grasp?

We are so conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unawares.

When that woman hugged me and said that I had brought her a moment of joy, it was possible to believe that I had been placed on earth for the sole purpose of providing her with that last ride.

I do not think that I have ever done anything in my life that was any more important.


Author Kent Nerburn talks about The Cab Ride… from the film The Four Chambers – four life affirming and uplifting stories about compassion, courage, vision and wonder


By Kent Nerburn
Adapted from “Make me an Instrument of Your Peace”

Reproduced on Zen Moments with the author’s kind permission.
Revised and edited in May 2012, at the author’s request, to accord with the original.
Photo: Taxi Union Square 2007 by Thomas Hawk

You may also enjoy another of Kent’s stories –  The Window on the Heart

Kent was recently interviewed about the Cab Ride by the Minneapolis Star Tribune


instrument The Cab Ride Ill Never Forget

This beautiful story originally appeared as part of a chapter in Kent Nerburn’s book Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: Living in the Spirit of the Prayer of St. Francis (pp. 57-64 – see below)

Various versions of this story, often unattributed, have been widely circulated on the internet, and by email, over the past few years, giving rise to a few questions:

Who wrote this?  Kent Nerburn  – see his blog www.kentnerburn.com  –  who is the highly acclaimed author of several books on spiritual values and Native American themes. You can support Kent’s work by purchasing autographed copies of his books directly from his bookshop Wolfnordog.com, which also features a range of beautiful gift baskets.  

Is this a true story?Yes – see www.snopes.com and www.truthorfiction.com.
Kent himself says: “The story is real, my friends. It was a gift of a moment to me, and I hope that by passing it along it is a gift to you, as well.”

Why would the lady leave her place in the middle of the night? At 2:30 AM? 

 Kent responds: “I thought nothing of it at the time, but it did happen as I wrote it. Perhaps the woman did not say she was going to a hospice, but to a nursing facility — I wrote it twenty years after the event, so my memory, which always is an adventure, was foggy. Why 2:30? I don’t know. Did I think it was strange? Not at the time. When you drive a cab the stories of a single night could fill a book. You do what you can; you do what you must. Sadness, joy, fear, and all manner of unlikely occurrences are part of every shift. I’d be happy if this became an urban legend, and I’d be even happier if it became a story claimed by hundreds of cab drivers. It would speak to the good hearts and intentions of people who do a difficult and too often denigrated job.”

This beautiful story was published here in 2008, when we began ZenMoments.org.  Much to our and Kent’s surprise it hit the front page of www.reddit.com and went viral. It has now been viewed here nearly a million times. In May 2012 it went viral again on Facebook (shared 40,000 times). Kent wrote about this on his blog: Our Better Angels: Some thoughts on “The Cab Ride.”  

Kent also posted this comment:

“A website out of the U.K., zenmoments.org, has recently posted the now well-traveled story of my experience as a cab driver, when I picked up an old woman who was on her way to a hospice. It has reached number one on a number of websites as a result. 

I am thrilled when my ordinary life offers up an extraordinary moment that brings some solace or insight or enjoyment to others, and such has been the good fortune of that moment in the late 1980’s when I was driving the “dog shift” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. What is noteworthy about that moment, beyond its poignancy, is that I did not create it; I merely experienced it and let it unfold.

letters to my son The Cab Ride Ill Never ForgetLife gives us all such moments — I call them “Blue Moments” (See Letters to My Son for an explanation) — where a brilliant light shines through the ordinary moments in our ordinary days. They come unsolicited and unannounced, and provide us the gift of significance and, if we are lucky, the opportunity to serve.  The Cab Ride Ill Never Forget
What it is important is to remember that these ARE gifts, and that we cannot receive them if we are not open to them. We need to listen closely, watch closely, and take care not to rush past or through them when they arrive. They are the fabric of our lives, and they will weave themselves with complexity and beauty if we give them time to do so.”


instrument The Cab Ride Ill Never Forget

 Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace

Living in the Spirit of the Prayer of St. Francis 

By Kent Nerburn

Kent Nerburn’s Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, immerses us in the spirit of one of the most universally inspiring figures in history: St. Francis of Assisi. The Prayer of St. Francis boldly but gently challenges us to resist the forces of evil and negativity with the spirit of goodwill and generosity. And Nerburn shows, in his wonderfully personal and humble way, how we each can live out the prayer’s prescription for living in our everyday and less-than-saintly lives.

“Where there is hatred, let me sow love…Where there is injury, let me sow pardon…” Expanding upon each line of the St. Francis Prayer, Nerburn shares touching, inspiring stories from his own experience and that of others and reveals how each of us can make a difference for good in ordinary ways without being heroes or saints. Struggling to help a young son comfort his best friend when his mother dies, moved by the courage of war enemies who reconcile, being wrenched out of self-absorbed depression by responding to someone else’s tragedy, taking a spirited old lady on a farewell taxi ride through her town - these are the kinds of everyday moments in which Nerburn finds we can live out the spirit of St. Francis.

By incorporating the power and grace of these few lines of practical idealism into our thoughts and deeds, we can begin to ease our own suffering-and the suffering of those with whom we share our lives. And, remarkably, find a way to true peace and happiness by tapping into our basic human goodness. As we open our hearts and embrace his words, St. Francis “touches our deepest humanity and ignites the spark of our divinity.”

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love,
Where there is injury let me sow pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
And where there is sadness, joy…

In this beautifully written book, Kent Nerburn leads us into the heart of the St. Francis Prayer and line by line demonstrates how St. Francis’s words can resonate in our lives today.

Reviews:

  • “An ennobling book. It will not only make you feel better, it might just make you a better person.” — – Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions
  • “Kent Nerburn has written a little jewel of a book, to warm the heart and touch the soul.” — – Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
  • “What a lovely book!” — – Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
  • “I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Ken Nerburn’s Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace. I have never realized the depth of thought in that brief prayer of St. Francis. Kent Nerburn, in a few masterful strokes and touching stories, plumbs its depths and offers us a precious little treasure.” — Joseph F. Girzone, author of Joshua 

51mD8W1NoyL. SL210  The Cab Ride Ill Never Forget

Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life

By Kent Nerburn
A personal journey that reveals the sacredness of the small things in life, and what they can teach us about living spiritually fulfilling lives.

Review:

star50 tpng The Cab Ride Ill Never ForgetVery POWERFUL stuff here!  By Blaine Greenfield

SMALL GRACES  by writer, sculptor and theologian Kent Nerburn caught me off guard . . . I wasn’t expecting much from this short book of 20 essays, but as I got more into it, the more I was impressed with both its beauty and simplicity.

It made me think about moments in my life that I thought were ordinary – yet, in reality, are much more than that . . . As Nerburn notes, “We become artists when we see with our hearts instead of our eyes” . . . Methinks that this is something that we all need to do, regardless of profession.

I find myself reflecting about one section, in particular . . . The author describes a teenager’s anguish about having to walk around on crutches for a relatively short period of her life (because of an accident) . . . She naturally finds it upsetting, yet it also helps come to the realization that she’ll never again complain when she comes across an older person walking slowly.

There were several memorable passages; among them:

  • She smiles, helps Nick with his knife. In Japan, one who masters the gentle art of making tea can be declared a national treasure. I watch her hold his hand gently in hers. Should one who practices the gentle arts of making a home be revered any less?
  • “No, your life isn’t ruined. Now your life is your life. No one else can fix it or change it. No one else can be blamed. This is yours. And it is up to you what you will make of it.”
  • None of us is promised tomorrow. Today, in all its beauty and sadness and complexity, is all we have. This light we see may be the last such day we have on this earth. There is no certainty, beyond the fact that one day we will have no tomorrow, and that it is not ours to know when that day will be.

Powerful stuff!

And so, too, is the conclusion:

  • Sometimes, it seems, we ask too much. Sometimes we forget that the small graces are enough.

I’ll cherish SMALL GRACES for a long time and will want it to share it with others . . . You’ll want to do the same if you give it a shot.

176 Comments

  1. That was pretty cool.

    • Very touching story.

      I used to drive for 12 different hospice companies in phoenix, az. I drove alone, loaded the people on the stretcher alone, and took them to hospice alone. I often wondered during those times if I was put there to make their last moments a little better. I always tried to make them smile and treat them as I would want to be treated. Thank you for this story. Brought back a lot of memories.

      Dedicated to Dorothy B. Mesa, Az

      GHIPU

    • Hello,
      Everyday, I come to the computer to look for a message from my Three sons. I was married to their dad for 25 years and it’s end the married when their dad wanted to marry a younger woman. Their dad was retired navy and my three sons now serving the military (navy) and when their dad divored me, my three sons one by one I feel like they are divorcing me as well. I haven’t see or talk to any of my three sons for so many years that I stop counting. I’m just holding on to the memories when they are younger, that I always with them wherever I go, except when to go work.

      I just hope that before I close my eyes for a final moment, that I can see and talk to my three sons and hear from them that they still love me! I feel like I have the same feeling with the woman got pick up by YOU to drive and around for two hours. Longing for my three sons to see, hold and talk.

      I thank you for the story and I know everyone who read it, have some though about life as I am.

      • Felisa, You don’t know me but I would send you e-mails and talk with you or just listen if you like :) I pray that your sons contact you but until then and even afterwards I am willing to be a friend that truly cares about you.
        If this is okay with you then you can e-mail me yveee27@nullgmail.com

        God bless you always
        your friend Yvonne

  2. Beautifully written. Glad I stumbled upon this story today. Thanks!

  3. “But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

    I could not agree more emphatically with this. I have volunteered in a number of K-12 educational settings, but it was my summer directing a theater camp planned around a free lunch program that was most rewarding. Even the smallest action such as hugging one of the campers or sitting and talking with them during morning snack could make a huge impact on their day, week, or maybe even more.

    What a touching story. Thank you for sharing it and reminding us all that even the seemingly most insignificant action can mean all the world to someone else.

  4. Beautiful story. It serves to remind me of the highest form of spirituality (in my opinion), that of true contact made between two people.

    Thank you.

  5. Not many people can see the power of those small moments thank you very much for sharing

  6. When I was just a kid in high school, my mom kicked me out of the house. I was 15. The only friend who could take me in lived a 40 minute drive away. None of my friends had a car, so my only option was to take the bus. I’d taken the bus a hundred times, but I accidentally got on the wrong one. I didn’t have enough money to get off and get on the right bus. I started crying. I was lost and had no idea what to do. The bus driver asked me what was wrong, and I explained. He told me that he would get off work soon, and that I should get off at the last stop, and he would come help me. I got off the bus, and a half hour later, he came and picked me up in his truck. He drove me all the way to my friend’s house and told me that he hoped things would get better for me.

    They did.

  7. That is beautiful and good. Thank you for posting it.

    Life is made of moments, isn’t it? May we all remember to be present and compassionate when these opportunities present themselves.

  8. This is really beautiful, I hope that your kindness could spread and be contagious :^)

  9. I, too, just happened to stumble across this posting. I thank you, Kent, for posting this, and I thank the other commenters for their contributions to this posting. Given the situation you encountered, I’m not sure if I would have acted as selflessly as you did. Although she never explicitly taught me and my sisters this lesson, our mother taught us to give the person in front of us our full attention and respect. This has shaped my inter-personal interactions for my entire life. I think your story, Kent, is a perfect example of what my mother taught us.

  10. Just loved your story. Can’t thank you enough for sharing it with us.

  11. I take NYC taxi’s every single day, on multiple occasions. 99% of the cab drivers are so penny pitching, it’s almost crazy. The second their precious meter shuts off, they ask you to get out of the car, even if you’re in the middle lane and a bus is coming. I’ve had cabbies curse at me for not tipping, when they’re busy screaming on their phone for the entire duration of the ride. I’ve had cabbies overcharge me significantly, lie to me, refuse to follow my route because they know it’s the cheapest. I’ve made numerous complaints to the TLC about these incidents and have always 100% won. NYC cabbies are some of the worst human beings on earth. Trust me.

    • @CLIFF Your point is???

      • As caring and nice as this cabbie seems to be in this story, I have to wonder how many people he has ripped off, overcharged or verbally assaulted to other passengers. But, it’s a cute story, i will admit:) I just don’t like taxi drivers, in almost any city…

        • @CLIFF are you dense?

          >>>>Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door

          Do you just troll the internet looking for cab driver stories to write ignorant, two bit comments on? You clearly *did not* read the article.

          • Look, “Method”. I’m a busy professional who has little interest in “trolling” the internet for cab related articles. When a dozen of my facebook friends post a story that make a cabbie seem almost “Ghandi” like, I have to question the validity of such a story. I frankly speaking, don’t buy it. A cab driver unequivocally will not take hours out of his day to show an older woman around. Anyone who has been to NYC or has taken a NYC cab, will tell you that.

          • @Cliff
            I don’t know about your “professional” status, but I can tell you that as a reasonably busy semi-professional short order cook, I barely have time to browse the internet. Half the stuff my facebook friends send me gets glanced at for but a brief moment. I guess the point I’m trying to make is, I’m not sure you’re as busy as you make yourself out to be. Also, stop being such a cynic.

        • You’re dumb and ignorant. You don’t go to a funeral and start bashing the dead and the coroner and others.

          • Stop it people!

            Have you not just read the first four lines of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi? I quote:
            Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
            Where there is hatred let me sow love,
            Where there is injury let me sow pardon,
            Where there is doubt, faith
            Cliff may believe as he feels! It is not for us to condemn nor to judge. Instead, please show compasion and love that he may understand.

    • @Cliff….lighten up I got a feeling the article was totally lost on you

    • Cliff – I think you must be an idiot, because this did not take place in New York city. It actually took place in Minneapolis 20 years ago. Different place, different time. You, my friend, have issues.

    • Cliff,

      Just a note to try to calm your waters. I am the driver; I wrote the story. I never ripped off anyone when I drove because I saw the eyes of my mother and father in every elderly passenger I picked up. That was the beauty of the job: it called forth my best self, and made me be better than I am. Were there and are there jerk cab drivers? You bet, and they frightened me for the damage they could do to the lonely and poverty stricken. But we all must do what we can.

      I’m not some spiritually enlightened being who has no sense of self interest. I am just an ordinary man who slogs through his days trying to be kind. About half the time I succeed. You should park your cynicism at the door now and then, for I’m sure you have a well of kindness that you tap on many occasions. I did a good thing on the night in question, and I would hope you would do the same.

  12. Ok, and now I want to be a taxi driver :D

  13. How many occasions we have passed to be a Cabbie like him?

  14. This so could be my father the driver ..He has driven County Cab in St.Louis Mo for over 50yrs and loves it and can tell some stories an loves the older people and the stories and the young kids love love the story thanks for sharing ..Patricia Patterson

  15. You, Sir, are a hero.

  16. Wonderful story :) deserves a like from my side (y)

  17. Thanks you. Thanks for sharing”

  18. Wow. Great Story.

  19. lovely story just a gem

  20. so okay
    that’s sweet
    but if someone really touches you like she had him
    then wouldn’t you continue to see that person with regularity? she said she had no family left, and not much time…
    2 minutes or 2 hours of kindness is okay
    but people seem be gunshy to build something bigger out of these opportunties
    I try an engage people that if, there is a connection, to see them again and again…

    people are flakes and talk big – we must do lunch someday
    never happens

    nice story though :)

  21. Thank you for sharing this lovely story, had I not read this I might not have had this positive experience today…

    I left slightly earlier today than I normally would and ran for the train to London, which is all very unusual for me but obviously it was for a reason.

    Today on the way to Victoria Station, to meet a business colleague, I was sitting on a crowded tube train directly opposite a small, old man in a woolly hat. I had my ipod on and noticed that he was asking his neighbouring lady which station he needed to get off at, so he could make his way to the the South Coast town of Lewes. The lady kindly helped him and we both got off at Victoria Tube.
    I stood next to him and asked him if he wanted help with his bag, which seemed really heavy and it was. He said yes – and was very trusting (unusually in London). He looked a bit lost and I guided him towards the Rail station, which is a good walk along a maze of corridors against a sea of fast moving human traffic.

    As we walked I asked him about himself and why he was going to Lewes. He said he was going to see his niece and that he might not be returning, as they were looking for a retirement home for him that weekend, so had packed a lot of things into his bag, just in case.

    At the top of the stairs we stopped for him to catch his breath and I took the opportunity to put the bag down too. I asked him if he had eaten any lunch (around 215pm by now) and he said no, so I took him off to M&S to get a sandwich and a drink. Then we made our way off to the busy concourse of Victoria Station, to find that his train was leaving at 218.
    So we walked all along to the platform to the train doors but they closed just before we got there. He was very calm and patient and so we trudged back to the concourse and information boards to await the next train. After finding the next train time, we walked off to the platform and the guards were very kind letting me in without a ticket.

    As we walked into the train I saw a table next to an elderly couple that looked the perfect place for him to sit. I settled him into his own window seat and placed his heavy bag safely beside him. He looked happy and started to unwrap his lunch and I asked his new neighbours to look after him and make sure he got off at the right station.

    I left him to move into his next station. The total time taken from my life to transfer him safely on his way was only 20 minutes.
    As Mike Dooley says “Show up early”, you never know what might happen.

  22. That story reminded me of the incident my 34 year old son shared with me. He is always in a hurry and has a tendency to be inpatient with people if they are slow or in his way, not saying her says anything to them but sometimes it just shows in his actions.
    He shared this with me:
    He was in a store and reached in front of an elderly gentleman to get something off the shelf. He did excuse himself realizing that he was being somewhat rude. The gentleman’s response was, “That is okay son I have all day.”
    It was an emotional moment for him.

  23. Just after finding this story via a link to an organisation called ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) that was set up in my home country of Ireland a wee while ago. Saw this link on their Facebook page. I am literally crying reading it as I treat cancer every day. I am a Radiation Therapist and this wonderful cab driver gave that old lady the best few hours of her life. I see palliative patients each day and they really do value the minutes you spend giving them extra attention. He will be blessed by her for the rest of his life. It touched me so much, I’m sharing it with my work colleagues and with my family & friends. It’s a good lesson, to always stop, wait and see what someone else’s day is like before acting.

    • So very well said! If I can only hold onto this awareness for more than a few fleeting moments. Bless you for doing your job yet still being able to give attention to the person.

  24. Fact or fiction, that is a great story. You made my day.

    • Every time I pick up a hitchhiker, it is a worthwhile experience. None of my friends approve. I don’t know anyone who picks up hitchhikers. I am ashamed of how isolated and distrustful we have all become.

      • Every since Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I’m terrified of hitchhikers.

  25. What an incredibly sweet story! Obviously, it’s no coincidence that you were her cab driver.

  26. Beautiful, thank you for sharing Hugs!

  27. Great idea for a post.Thank you!

  28. Love this account every time I stumble upon it. Thanks for posting it, and thanks for living it.

  29. Nice story. I found it on Facebook in a Polish version:

    LEKCJA DLA NAS WSZYSTKICH

    Taksówkarz z Nowego Jorku napisał:

    Przyjechałem pod adres do klienta, i zatrąbiłem. Po odczekaniu kilku minut, zatrąbiłem ponownie. Był późny wieczór, pomyślałem że klient się rozmyślił i wrócę do “bazy”… ale zamiast tego zaparkowałem samochód, podszedłem do drzwi i zapukałem. “Minutkę!”, odpowiedział wątły, starszy głos. Usłyszałem odgłos tak jakby coś było ciągnięte po podłodze…

    Po długiej przerwie, otworzyły się drzwi. Stała przede mną niska , na oko dziewięćdziesięcioletnia kobieta. Miała na sobie kolorową sukienkę i kapelusz z dopiętym welonem; wyglądała jak ktoś z filmu z lat czterdziestych.

    U Jej boku była mała nylonowa walizka. Mieszkanie wyglądało tak, jakby nikt nie mieszkał w nim od lat. Wszystkie meble przykryte były płachtami materiału.

    Nie było zegarów na ścianach, żadnych bibelotów ani naczyń na blacie. W rogu stało kartonowe pudło wypełnione zdjęciami i szkłem.

    “Czy mógłby Pan zanieść moją torbę do samochodu?”, zapytała. Zabrałem walizkę do auta, po czym wróciłem aby pomóc kobiecie.

    Wzięła mnie za rękę i szliśmy powoli w stronę krawężnika.

    Trzymała mnie za ramię, dziękując mi za życzliwość. “To nic”, powiedziałem, “Staram się traktować moich pasażerów w sposób, w jaki chciałbym aby traktowano moją mamę.”

    “Och, jesteś takim dobrym chłopcem” , odrzekła. Kiedy wsiedliśmy do samochodu, dała mi adres, a potem zapytała: “Czy mógłbyś pojechać przez centrum miasta?

    “To nie jest najkrótsza droga”, odpowiedziałem szybko, włączając licznik opłaty.

    “Och, nie mam nic przeciwko temu”, powiedziała. “Nie spieszę się. Jestem w drodze do hospicjum.”

    Spojrzałem w lusterko. Jej oczy lśniły. “Nie mam już nikogo z rodziny”, mówiła łagodnym głosem. “Lekarz mówi, że nie zostało mi zbyt wiele…”

    Wyłączyłem licznik… “Którędy chce Pani jechać?”

    Przez kilka godzin jeździliśmy po mieście. Pokazała mi budynek, gdzie kiedyś pracowała jako operator windy.

    Jechaliśmy przez okolicę, w której żyli z mężem jako nowożeńcy. Poprosiła abym zatrzymał się przed magazynem meblowym który był niegdyś salą balową, gdzie chodziła tańczyć jako młoda dziewczyna.

    Czasami prosiła by zwolnić przy danym budynku lub skrzyżowaniu, i siedziała wpatrując się w ciemność, bez słowa.

    Gdy pierwsze promienie Słońca przełamały horyzont, powiedziała nagle “Jestem zmęczona. Jedźmy już proszę”. Jechaliśmy w milczeniu pod wskazany adres. Był to był niski budynek z podjazdem, tak typowy dla domów opieki.

    Dwaj sanitariusze wyszli na zewnątrz gdy tylko zatrzymałem się na podjeździe. Musieli się jej spodziewać. Byli uprzejmi i troskliwi.

    Otworzyłem bagażnik i zaniosłem małą walizeczkę kobiety do drzwi. Ona sama została już usadzona na wózku inwalidzkim.

    “Ile jestem panu winna?” Spytała, sięgając do torebki.

    “Nic”, odpowiedziałem.

    “Trzeba zarabiać na życie”, zaoponowała.

    “Są inni pasażerowie,” odparłem.

    I nie zastanawiając się kompletnie nad tym co robię, pochyliłem się i przytuliłem Ją. Objęła mnie mocno.

    “Dałeś staruszce małą chwilę radości”, powiedziała. “Dziękuję”.

    Uścisnąłem jej dłoń, a następnie wyszedłem w półmrok poranka. Za mną zamknęły się drzwi – był to dźwięk zamykanego Życia.

    Tego ranka nie zabierałem już żadnych pasażerów.Jeździłem bez celu, zagubiony w myślach. Co jeśli do kobiety wysłany zostałby nieuprzejmy kierowca, lub niecierpliwy aby zakończyć jego zmianę? Co gdybym nie podszedł do drzwi, lub zatrąbił tylko raz, a następnie odjechał?

    Myśląc o tym teraz, nie sądzę, abym zrobił coś ważniejszego w całym swoim życiu.

    Jesteśmy uzależnieni od poszukiwania emocjonujących zdarzeń i pięknych chwil, którymi staramy się wypełnić nasze życia.

    Tymczasem Piękne Chwile mogą przydarzyć się nam zupełnie nieoczekiwanie, opakowane w to, co inni mogą nazwać rutyną. Nie przegapmy ich.

  30. Wow! What a great story! It is kind of funny that people would basically confess to their taxi service. But what a great guy you are for listening and not judging. Thanks for posting!

  31. Mr. Nerburn writes a beautiful story. I haven’t read any of his writings other than the Cab Ride since I just found it, but I foresee many hours of good reading . I am going to read all of his work that I can find. Thank you, Mr. Nerburn, for putting your experiences into words for us all to enjoy.

  32. I absolutely love this. The beginning reminded me of the HBO show I used to watch, Taxi Cab Confessions. It was hilariously brilliant. Then end, especially this line, “We are so conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unawares,” couldn’t have been said any better. All of my most precious moments happened only because I put myself in a position to make them happen.

  33. very nice.

  34. I too was a taxi driver at one time but my most memorable passengers were special needs children whom I’d pick up from either their home or whatever group home they lived at.
    I would play childrens stories on cassette for them;take the time to speak with them;even though some were very difficult to understand.I would don a Santa suit in Christmas season and become Mrs Claus.
    I decorated the dashboard of my cab with scenes of winter. My children would recieve small, inexpensive gifts from “Mrs. Claus as she dropped them of at their schools.
    I sure miss those days.

  35. feelings, that, only love helps us, being real happy!

  36. This is a wonderful story born of one simple connection between two people meeting by chance, at just the right time. I have had some horrible moments in my life, because i am an open, honest, and trusting person, and that leaves you open to be taken advantage of. But let me tell you, every one of those moments was worth going through because of the wonderful moments i have also experienced too, by being the way i am. Always look for the best in people and be accepting of what you find.

  37. Cried :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  17. Take A Moment To Read…..The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget « Creating a New Earth Together - [...] http://www.zenmoments.org/the-cab-ride-ill-never-forget/ Share this:PrintEmail Pin ItShare on TumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. …
  18. Opening our ears, and our mouths | Mom talks about faith - [...] God in someone’s life.  If you want to read an example of this that will make you tear up, …
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  20. The Cab Ride I'll Never Forget | MyLifeYoga - [...] Credits: This is written by Kent Nerburn and is a true story. There are many versions of this story …
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  23. Moments | Nate Is Happy - [...] can give you a link, to a blog where it has been reproduced with the author’s permission. So CLICK …
  24. Staying on the Path… | - [...] Kent Nerburn speaks so poignantly about not letting “goals” get in our way here:  [...]
  25. Link Love – June 2013 - [...] ♥  A sweet lesson on patience and random acts of kindness. [...]
  26. Moments | A Life Curated - [...] can give you a link, to a blog where it has been reproduced with the author’s permission. So CLICK …
  27. Viv Taylor » The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget - [...] There was a time in my life twenty years ago when I was driving a cab for a living…more …
  28. 3: One Positive Habit | No Ordinary Token of Gladness Will Do - […] It’s here: http://zenmoments.org/the-cab-ride-ill-never-forget/ […]

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