Tuesday, August 11, 2009

STORY: A Passage in Life's Journey

I arrived at the address where someone had requested a taxi. I honked but no one came out. I honked again, nothing. 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 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 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, and 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, 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. '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, someone who was impatient to end his shift?

Our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.




sinkeh said...

A sincere gesture from the heart leaves an everlasting impression.

Anonymous said...

...whereas a shit-stirrer will forever leaves a bad taste.

Sharouk said...

Beatiful story

Jefus said...

too bad she did not get to meet cab drivers in kl,.... they would have robbed her

Anonymous said...

cab drivers in KL? What a joke!

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Anonymous said...

A beautiful post.
I have encountered such instance, words cant express, it is the feeling , PRICELESS !!

Anonymous said...

at time, through their words and actions, some will leave a deep impression in us.

at time there are others making a nuisance of themselves through their irresponsible antics.

of late we are witnessing endless of stupidity squabbles within and between the pr and bn lawmakers...

and shirking their sole responsibility of looking after the well being of the country and the people.

ya, mave ur rite, lets just eat, drink & be merry.


moo_t said...

Malaysia drivers can do the same, only if the government don't rob them with the cronies.

Maverick SM said...


I agree with your point. Little goodwill goes a long way to give us much to cherish.


Thanks for the appreciation.


Hahaha... BTW we do have good-hearted cabbies too.


Let's cherish the good moments and find ways and time to do more of these little things that makes life far more meaningful.


I think I have met quite a few good-hearted cab drivers. Let's not be so depressed.

Gukita said...


This is a great story. Whether it it true happenning or not is immaterial. What matters is 'the heart' that is so evident in the story. What is living without a 'heart'. Thanks Mave...

Singam said...

This one brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for reminding us about the things that matter.

Maverick SM said...


I agree with you. What matters is the "heart" - loving, compassion & empathy.


Thanks for sharing your emotion and love.