I got this in my mailbox today. It's so touching. Read on...
Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.
When I arrived at 2:30 a.m. to pick up a passenger, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away.
But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.
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 80'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, 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, 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
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, 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.
PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT 'YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL!
You won't get any big surprise in 10 days if you don't send this to ten people.
But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on.
Thank you, my friend.....
POSTSCRIPT FROM ME: About two weeks ago, a former colleague and dear sister in the LORD died in a freak accident. Hazel Recheta, news reporter of TV station ABC 5 and her crew just came from a coverage in Mt. Mayon. Days before the accident, I bumped into Hazel who covered the visit of popular author Rick Warren. I was part of the organizing team that brought Rick in the Philippines.
When I was still a reporter of the Inquirer, I always bumped into Hazel in news coverages. She was a very warm and amiable person and through time, we got quite close, moreso, since we found out we were attending the same church.
My last encounter with her was quite brief but we promised each other we would have coffee very soon. I promised to give her The Purpose Driven Life. "I need that," she would tell me. I knew then that she was desiring to have a deeper walk with the Lord.
But pressures at work and home got in the way. Finally, I was set to see her by Monday. Sadly, it was not meant to be. Sunday afternoon, I got a text from my former boss that Hazel perished along with her two crew members on their way back to Manila.
Learning of Hazel's death brought so much agony to me. Regrets, regrets. I couldn't even get myself to visit her wake. Why did I not see at once? She even called me that same afternoon we met reminding me about the book. Now, how can I show an act of kindness to a dear friend?
I am just comforted by the fact that Hazel is now with our Creator, her one true Friend who will never disappoint her. Hazel's death has taught me a very hard lesson.