Saturday, June 26, 2010


Dear Friends

As usual I receive many emails some times by the dozens. Some I delete some I forward and some I save in my hard drive for posterity.

Once in a Blue Moon I get a email which touches my inner feelings and jolts me to reality.

There are so many finer things in life that we miss because of our preoccupation or just by lethargy or carelessness.

This email I would like to share with you because it really touches me and brings my fond memories of my youth back to life.

May be it may inspire some one to help someone who really needs your help.

After all life is for caring and sharing, look after your loved ones and thank God that he has given you so much to live for.

Please read and forward:

Dr. Babur Zahiruddin

Social Activist


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.

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

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 towards the cab. 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

"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. 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.

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