A few years ago,
There was a cab driver who always had all the patience in the world.. One day, he arrived at a building in the middle of a full moon night for a pick up. The place was dark except for just one single light in a window of the ground floor house.
Under such conditions, many chauffeurs would just give one or two honks, might even wait for a minute, and then drive away. But this driver had seen many needy people who totally depend on cabs as the only means of transport.
Except a situation sensed of danger, he always would go to the door. The passenger could be somebody who needs his assistance, is the reasoning he gives to himself. So he went to the door and then knocked.
An elderly voice answered “Just a minute,”.. He could get the sound of something being pulled across the flooring. After a lengthy pause, the entrance door opened.
It was a very small woman about 80 years or older. She was in a printed dress and a pill-box hat with a small veil tucked on it, like a superstar out of 1940s movies.
Beside her was a tiny nylon baggage.. The flat looked as if nobody lived in it for almost a year. All the tables and chairs were covered with white sheets. The walls had no clocks, nor it had any utensils or knickknacks on the counters. In a corner there was a wooden box packed with glassware and photos.
“Would you move my baggage to the car?” the old lady asked. He took the luggage to the taxi, and then returned to help the woman. This old lady took his arm and they walked slowly towards the cab.
She kept thanking him for his kindness.. “It’s nothing,” he replied to her and said – He just tries to treat his customers the way he would want his mother be treated.
“Oh, you are such a nice boy,” the old lady replied.
When they got in the taxi, she gave him an address, and asked, “Could he drive through down-town?”
He replied- “It’s not the shortest way,” .. For which she replied “Oh, I actually don’t mind,”.. She was in no hurry and was only travelling to the hospital.
When he looked into her eyes through the rear view mirror, those were glistening.. Then she continued saying- “I don’t have family,” and “the doctors say I do not have much left.”
The driver quietly stretched and switched off the meter and asked what route he should take?.. And for about two hours, they drove over the city. The old lady showed him the office where she once was employed as an elevator worker.
They drove through neighborhood where this old lady and her spouse had lived back then when they were just marrieds. The cab was then stopped in front of a furniture storeroom which was once a ballroom where this old lady performed dancing when she was a little girl.
Sometimes she would ask the driver to slow down or stop in front of some specific building or road bends and would gaze into the dark, without saying anything.. As the sky started to turn lighter and bright, the old lady suddenly asked the drive to drop her at the address that was already shared and said she is tired and wants to go.
Without any hesitation, the driver turned his car in silence towards the address.. It was quite a very low building, just like a small renovating home, and had a drive way that went under a porch. Two orderlies reached to the cab immediately when the car was stopped.
They were considerate and intent and were watching the old lady’s every move..May be they were expecting her. Anyway the driver opened the trunk of the cab and pulled out the small suitcase of the old lady’s to the door.
By then the woman was seated in a wheel chair.. She asked the driver -“How much do I owe you?” and reached to her purse.. He said “Nothing,” for which she answered – “You have to make a living,”
And he replied – “There are other passengers for that.”.. Almost without any further thought, he bent and offered her a nice hug. For which she held onto him tightly and said – “You gave me some memorable moment of joy that I earned for a long time,”
“Thank you.” He replied.. He embraced her hands, and then made his way into the dim-morning light.
Behind him, a door was shut.
And for him it sounded like the closing of a life.
And for that day he did not pick up any passengers.
Instead he drove pointlessly as he was lost in the thoughts of the night drive. He could hardly talk for the rest of the day. All that was in his mind was- What if the old woman had got an annoyed driver, or someone who was intolerant and was in a hurry to end the shift?
Or What if he had declined to take the drive as per the old ladies choice, or had beeped once at the apartment and just drove away? On a very quick review, he doesn’t think there is anything more than leading a happy and peaceful life.
The contentment he felt on that day cannot be compensated with anything else. That ride of the lady would be the last one wherein she relived each moment of her life as and when she passed by those memorable places.. PERIOD
Moral of the story
Don’t think that your life will always revolve around good moments. So live the moments happily now which will help you to create memories for a lifetime. Be ready to help someone, especially someone for whom your help means like a gift. The moments the old lady lived cannot be recreated again if the driver had ignored to take the cab through the down town.
A Writer From Bangalore