"I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated." "Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they had first been married.
When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown? "The doctor says I don't have very long."I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. 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.
Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a rolling confessional.
Passengers would climb in, sit behind me in total anonymity, and tell me of their lives.
When I arrived at the address, 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 short minute, then drive away.I didn’t need to read any of them as most had already been read, but still I scrolled and refreshed regardless out of habit.“Date? ” the Indian man said, turning his signal on and turning left.“Mhmm,” I said, not looking up from my phone. There was a lull in the conversation.“What do you do? I clicked the button on the side of my i Phone, looked up, stared out the window, and then made eye contact with him through the rear-view mirror.“I work in advertising,” I said.“Oh! Unless a situation had a real whiff of danger, I always went to the door to find the passenger.It might, I reasoned, be someone who needs my assistance.I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and made me weep.And none of those lives touched me more than that of a woman I picked up late on a warm August night.Too many bad possibilities awaited a drive who went up to a darkened building at in the morning.But I had seen too many people trapped in a life of poverty who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. " she asked, reaching into her purse."Nothing," I said."You have to make a living," she answered."There are other passengers," I responded. What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. I squeezed her hand once, then walked out into the dim morning light. How many other moments like that had I missed or failed to grasp?