Her Last Ride

This is the first time that I have ever taken a Facebook post done a copy, paste on, then put it here on this Blog. It only takes about one or two minutes to read this short story but if you will take that moment of two it may warm your heart some on a cold day.

(I first posted this article on February 7th of 2016)
John Giovanni's photo.

John Giovanni

Last Ride
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up 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 90’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 1940’s 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 asked.
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 to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and 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 in a soft voice. ‘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 she 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, and 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 are 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.
At the bottom of this great story was a request to forward this – I deleted that request because if you have read to this point, you won’t have to be asked to pass it along, you just will…
Thank you, my friend…
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. J.L.

Comments

Our Age

OUR AGE  

(First printed on Feb 13th, 2014)

I have a simple question that I would like to pose to you. It is a question that most everyone in the world will know the answer to, but there will be many different answers given. What is it, it is simply this, how many years old are you? Me, this calendar year if the Lord is willing, I will be 58. Like a lot of kids when I was young I couldn’t hardly wait to turn 18 so that I could get out of the living situation I had when I was a kid. Shortly before I turned 18 the drinking laws reverted from 21 to 18. But I was never really much of a drinker because I had seen adults getting drunk and acting like idiots and dumb asses my whole childhood and I really didn’t want to act like that myself. So the drinking age change was of little value to me except when a date wanted a bottle of wine I would now be able to get it for her. As a young man I guess I never thought too much about getting old and the changes that age does to a mind and body. This is probably because I never thought I would live to see 30. I remember though in moments of deep thought what it would be like to live long enough to see the year 2000. I remember when that did happen I went outside right after the Ball dropped and laid on the hood of our car with my back against the windshield closed my eyes and thanked the Lord for His kindness. The year 2000 was the year that my Mom was killed in a car wreck though, it was exactly three weeks before her 70th birthday. In 1993 my Dad died at the age of 66, I have two brothers, one died at 3 days old and the other at age 43 so it seems in our DNA becoming an ancient one is not likely. My heart Doctors thought I would be dead about 10 years ago but for some reason the Lord is still walking with me.

A couple of things that have happened here this week has put me on the thought path of age. A real good friend of mine turned 59 last week and my wife who is 48 but will have a birthday soon and is seemingly depressed at the thought of number 49. I know that for a lot of folks the birthday’s that end with a zero causes them a lot of stress and it does appear that my Bride is one of them. Then there is my sweet Sister who, Lord willing, will hit the big 60 this fall. Since I was injured while in the Army I always say a prayer of thank you to our Creator for being so kind as to allowing me to see another sunrise.  I took a break this morning to watch my local news and a bit of the Good Morning America program and heard that Shirley Temple died yesterday, they said that she was 85. This is a woman who lived an extraordinary life, if you are a person who doesn’t know who she is go ahead and Google her.

In the time that Mrs Shirley Temple Black walked here among us she used her God-given time well, but my question is, have you? Have I, that answer for me has to be no, I have been a screw up most of my life. When you know that your time is fading and you know that it is a truth that when you tie your shoes in the morning that it could easily be the undertaker who unties them tonight, this reality can make one drift off in thought as to how you have performed your life. What I have learned in my life is to be thankful when I open my eyes each morning and to thank the Lord each night when I put my head down on my pillow. We are all given much more grace than we deserve (in my opinion), at least that is the truth in my case.

The reason for this little message today is to speak with each of you personally about the path of life that we are on. I just want all people to spend a little quiet time with just yourself and God (if you are a believer) and to take a good look at the path in life that you are on. Are you happy in your life? If so, consider what you need to do in your future to continue in this blissful life. If you are discontent spend some quiet time with your thoughts and consider what have you experienced in your life path that has put you where you are. Now, just take a pen or pencil and write down the little things that you would like to see change in your life. Now write a commentary beneath it on what you need to do to get that event behind you so that you can go onto the next event you would like changed in your life. If we chip off the foundation of a big problem soon that big problem will fall to the ground where we can kick the air out of it to. I would just like it if everyone could be living a content life style, but such a miracle is accomplished one life at a time. I have learned that it is difficult to be the kind caring person I want to be if my own life is filled with tension. I know that I probably have not said anything that is new to you here today in this post. The purpose of this note to you is simply to get you some quiet time for your inner thoughts to be in your mind’s eye as you were reading this note to you.