Great Moments

Great moments are born from great opportunities – Herb Brooks

The story below shows us how great moments often catch us unaware, let’s be present each day, so we do not miss them.

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

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.

“Oh, you’re very kind,” 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.

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.”

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.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought.

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 unawareโ€”beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

40 thoughts on “Great Moments

  1. It was a great moment, I think. He will never forget her. She changed him is some beautiful way. I love this story. Thank you, Karen.
    Blessings and Love

  2. Truly wonderful.
    The pace at which we live can make life such a blur, thank you for this reminder to slow down and life’s little treasures.

    Blessings to you.

  3. This story is so moving and what it is all about, it is the little moments when we are least anticipating, which gives us all pause to let go of expectations. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  4. Such a poignant, lovely story, Karen. It is true that everyday compassion and kindness means so much more in life. These are qualities I know I will always find in your posts.

  5. So true – great acts of kindness hide behind small doors. I remember my Mom sending me a greeting card for no special occasion. Inside it read “I am so proud of you.” It is the card I treasure most.

  6. What a powerful story–brought tears and a lump to my throat. So very important to remember that the simplest of actions can have the greatest impact. Will carry this with me throughout my day….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s