I arrived at the given address up the old woman who had called earlier and knocked at her front door. A frail, elderly woman of about 90 came to the door. She was wearing a print dress with a pillbox hat, complete with a veil and resembled someone from a 1940’s movie.Her apartment looked as if no one had lived there for years, the furniture was covered with sheets, there were no pictures on the walls; no ornaments on the kitchen counter. I noticed a cardboard box filled with glassware and photographs.
“Would you carry my suitcase to your cab please?”
I took the case and then returned to assist the old woman. As she took my arm and walked with me to the cab, she kept thanking me for my kindness.”I treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated,” I replied.
“I don’t mind. I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”
I looked at her in the mirror and saw that her eyes were glistening. I have no family left,” she continued in a soft voice,” and my doctor says I don’t have much longer to live.”
I leaned forward and turned off the meter.
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 as newlyweds and she asked me tom pull up in front of a warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had danced as a girl.
Two hours later, she said; “I’m tired. It’s time to go now please.”
As we pulled up, two orderlies came out. theynwere solicitous while watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I removednher case from the tru k and took it to the door. She was already seated in a wheelchair.
“How much domI owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I replied.
“Butnyou have to make a living, young man.”
“There are other passengers.”
“You gave an old woman a couple ofnhoursnofnjoy,” she told me.”Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand gently, the walked to my cab. Behind me a door shut which sounded like the closing of a life.
Imdid not pickmup any more passengersnthatnday and couldnbarely speak. What if the woman had got an impatient, angry driver? I doubt whether I have done anything more impatient in my life. We are conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But, great moments cat h us unaware, wrapped in what others might consider a small owe.
People may not remember what you did or said, but, they will always remember how you made them feel.