Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wisdom

I admit that sometimes when I hear someone talking about volunteering I tell myself I already do that. I don't mean to brag. I took a two thirds cut in pay to do the work I am privileged to do today. Someday I will write more stories about the people I know and get to witness. But today, on Facebook, posted by my twinkly twin Angela, came across a story that put everything, all of it, in perspective.

Let's face it: this beautiful life is short and this beautiful life is hard. The chance to do something important is often found in small moments and small acts. And when that chance presents itself, I tell you, I assure you, it can change everything for you.

Please read this story, because I know you will understand. I know you will feel and I know you will understand what you can do if you keep your eyes and heart open to make your own life everything you hope for.

Love
kj



A NYC Taxi driver wrote:


I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my 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.

24 comments:

  1. i'm leaving the first comment. how do we know this story is true? wouldn't hospice make arrangements to pick up a patient? but what matters is how i felt reading this. sometimes i am proud to be a human being and i am reassured to be among some pretty amazing people (you). pay it forward. that's what i think.
    xoxo

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  2. Does it matter if the story is "true"? Or does our reading, responding to, and perhaps telling others stand in it's own merits? And what does "true" mean? Are not all stories inherently true, in one form or another?

    Blessings and Bear hugs, kj.

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    1. I love your comment, bear xoxo

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  3. It is true if you read it with your heart. The message is the same whether it comes from a thought or from an act. It is said that there is more pleasure in giving than receiving and that is only half of the story. It is the silent, often unseen gift that mostly goes ignored when we give, that is the essence of what is true about this story. And it gives me great comfort to believe it.

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    1. From thought it act: like bear's , this is such an insightful comment xoxo

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  4. I remember the first time I read this. I felt something shift deep inside me and that I think is what is supposed to happen. It made me realise that small things matter a great deal.

    And I echo every single word Allegra said too. It is those gifts given unseen, unlauded that really feed the soul of both giver and receiver.

    Much love xx Jos

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  5. It may be true. My DH was a cab driver for years, it's how we survived thru school. He once got Cab Driver of the month for being kind to two old ladies who overpaid him by mistake, and could have taken home a twenty dollar tip instead of the 1 dollar they could afford to give him. He ran after them and gave them back the money. They were so grateful and sweet and they called the cab company to tell the boss what a nice boy he was. Of course he got grief and teasing from the other cabbies, but I think it's one little kind act that he will always remember.

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    1. The kindnesses we never forget, Mim.

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  6. I also think that the point of the story is to think about how to interact with people, to take time to think, to remember that small kindnesses are the way to live I like this story KJ,

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    1. You are a wise good woman, my good friend xoxo

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  7. This tale would be a non story if we humans remembered that human is the root word of humanity.

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  8. Batting away tears. What a gift to two souls.

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    1. That's the real point, isn't it: everybody wins
      Xoxo

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  9. Excellent story!
    Mim reminded me of a tale of my own.
    Many, many years ago, as I was just beginning my career, I was mistakenly given a 100 dollar bill, instead of a one dollar bill.
    This was in the day of rarely even seeing a bill that size, much less receiving it as a tip.
    The returning of it was just the right thing to do, and I think what most people would do, with no reward expected, or received.
    Over the years my business grew in leaps and bounds, becoming more successful than I'd ever dreamed possible. I'm not bragging here,,just saying that if everyone just lived by the Golden Rule, and just doing the right thing without expecting reward,,,,,can you imagine how much better this world would turn?
    Just like Walking Man said,,,there would be no stories.

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    1. I know fully well you have a heart of gold, babs. I love that you've shared this story

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  10. Kj and Angela, this is beautiful. Loving kindness could change the world. Of course these moments always happen when we are in a hurry, or tired, I wonder why that is? These days my kindness is going to my family that has hit very hard times, just keeping my mouth shut and being loving instead of arguing, sending love instead of worry. xoxo

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    1. Annie, I am sorry to hear your family is struggling and I hope things get better. To send love instead of worry is very wise, not always easy xoxo

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  11. It's a lovely story. I am always amazed at how little we need to do to make another feel better, mostly just listen.

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    1. Lilith, yes yes. I think to be known and understood is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another

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  12. Loved this story! Loving one another and taking time is so important!! Thank you for sharing this! ♥♥♥

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