The Last Cab Ride

Older women
He arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes he honked again.

Since this was going to be the last fare of his shift, he thought about just driving away, but instead he put the car in park, walked up to the door and knocked.

‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. He could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before him. 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. He took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took his arm and they walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking him for his kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, he 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.’

They got in the cab, she gave him an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’ ‘It’s not the shortest way,’ he answered quickly. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.’

He 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.’

He quietly reached over and shut off the meter. ‘What route would you like me to take?’ he asked.

For the next two hours, they drove through the city. She showed him the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

They drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.

She had him 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 him 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.’

They drove in silence to the address she had given him. 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 they pulled up.

They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

He 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,’ he answered. ‘You have to make a living,’ she said. ‘There are other passengers,’ he responded.

Almost without thinking, he bent and gave her a hug. She held onto him tightly. ‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’ He squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind him, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

For the rest of that day, he could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if he had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, He didn’t think that he had ever done anything more important in his 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 very small moment.


A Dog’s Purpose

According to a six-year old.

irish wolfhound

Being a veterinarian, he was called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. He examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer, so told the family nothing could be done anything for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As they made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told him they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, he felt the familiar catch in his throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that he wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. They all sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.” Startled, they all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned them for they had never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

  • Live simply.
  • Love generously.
  • Care deeply.
  • Speak kindly.
  • Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE…Getting back up is LIVING…

~ Source: Ultima National Resources, LLC
— with Jack Graham