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The Cab Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night.

I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory in the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under such circumstances, many drivers 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 80s 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, “Can 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 rearview 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, 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 those great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider an insignificant event.

“…..And their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus.”   Luke 24:31




20 comments

  1. Asoleghe Harold

    Thank you for showing a LITTLE kindness to one of His daughters. You are blessed and may you remain a blessing to the body of Christ. To me,this is rendering service with grace!

  2. Rogeni Tumbagahan

    A wonderful message! Only God’s love is at work in us as we respond gladly, willingly extend our helping hands and spending time to lend our ears. May all the readers be encouraged with your story. Keep it up! Have a blessed day!

  3. Oh my! That moved me. Thank you for sharing the story and reminding us of what true Christianity is truly about. Also thank you for this ministry. God bless

  4. How profound. Our daily prayer ought to be… “open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus”. May we always notice those great moments! One of my driving moto is, “Everyday is a learning experience”.

  5. Nancy Wangombe

    This is so beautiful. I am overwhelmed by the power in kindness and how God will give us tiny windows of opportunity to be a blessing to someone .

    As Your mercies are new for me every morning, I pray Lord that i will discern and sieze such moments to extend your mercies to someone each day. AMEN

  6. I am blessed to be part of “All Worship team”. Continue with the spreading of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The reward awaits for you in heaven.

  7. Great moment indeed. May we be an instrument of good works that will bring joy, comfort and fulfillment to someone around us or people we meet along life line. Lord make a channel of blessing I pray.

  8. I just read “The Cab Ride”. What a thought provoking article. I am one who speaks to nearly everyone who passes me, I’ll talk to strangers. This article makes me want to continue, making sure I speak to all. We never know what a person has experienced or what they need, in our selfish flesh, that is so busy, but I thank God for Isaiah 50:4, 5 “The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned, to know the word to sustain the weary. He awakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and i have not been rebellious, I have not drawn back.” Thank you!

  9. Thanks for sharing. Wonderfull testemony. “What you do for the least of these, you do for Me” says Jesus.

  10. Thanks for the story, it could have been my mom or it could be me when i’m old.
    Thankyou for the inspiration.

  11. I JUST LOVE THIS!!!!!

    This is a life changing story remember what our soon coming King said, “What you do for the least of these, you do for Me”

  12. Inspiring story!
    “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brother, that you do unto me..” What a powerful Word of our Lord Jesus Christ! and that’s what the taxi driver did. God’s love and mercy flows like a river to him that he helped faithfully the old woman. He was move with compassion through the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Good job faithful servant!

  13. Beautiful story….. The driver said it best, ” Treat people the way i’d like my mother treated”. I lost both of my parents 3 years ago and I thank God for the wonderful memories I have of my time with them. This lady had out-lived all of her family so just think of the tons of memories she must have. Now as she awaits the death-angel, this driver showed her the respect and time she needed to review her now ending life. We all need to “slow down” a second and review our lives and always be respectful of other’s lives as well

  14. Taiwo Ekundayo

    God ordered your steps to show love to an elderly woman at one of her darkest hours…”And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28). God bless you and prosper your ministry as you yielded to HIS spirit, honored, and showed kindness to an elderly. My wife passed on in a hospice too…


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