New York City Taxi Driver’s Sweet Lesson on Patience & Perspective

New York City Taxi Driver’s Sweet Lesson on Patience & Perspective

Disclosure: I read the “NYC Taxi Driver” written knick-knack on Facebook. I hate that my critical mind immediately resolves to: “This REEKS of being a chain letter or creative writing”. Nonetheless… real experiences like this do happen AND it is a sweet, short, and thought provoking story.

It’s amazing how incredibly profound simple love, kindness, and consideration can be. It’s also unfortunate how intermittent and scarce it can be throughout our days. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control may not always be easy, but the mechanics are decidedly simple. It merely involves surrendering our hearts, preferences, and lives before God… gosh darn that whole “dying to self” calling thing.

Many small acts of love, care, and kindness in marriage, family, and in seemingly benign daily activities can surely write a wonderfully compelling life story that points to and radiates Christ-likeness. These moments indicate the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives. They also allow us to experience deeper redemption and sanctification that can bloom into more wholly pursuing and fulfilling the Great Commission in many ways.

Small decisions of love add up. Small decisions change our hearts day by day. Small decisions are acts of surrender and selflessness. Small decisions transform and renew our minds and hearts. Small decisions pave the way for more small decisions. Small decisions allow us to experience the Truth of scripture and promises of Christ.Small decisions increase in magnitude and impact. Small decisions can initiate an unstoppable chain reaction.  Small decisions move people and infect community. Small decisions provide a foundation for a powerfully big life story that impacts and create generational legacy. This is our calling, opportunity, and invitations as servants of Christ.

An NYC Taxi Driver’s Story:

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 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 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 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’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.


  1. JS

    Beautiful and inspiring story!
    May we always be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit!

  2. Tammy Debono

    I too, whilst reading ‘A sweet lesson on patience’,had a little voice in my head telling me, even as tears rolled down my cheeks, that this was probably just some cheap chain letter. I immediately searched the web and came upon your blog.I now realise that it does not matter so much now if the story is true or not, it’s value was in the response it invoked in me and others, that being to believe in the kindness of others and for our ability to show empathy to one another. This letter, chain or otherwise, inspires me to be a little more thoughtful and considerate to our fellow human beings….and that I believe is what really matters. So lets keep the chain going and inspire others to feel the same.

    • Marriage Lover

      Tammy… well said 🙂

  3. Micke

    It appears that this was removed from FB.. I saw it on a friends wall and shared it but bow there’s no trace of it…odd.

    Anybody know something about this?

    I agree with Tammy above, it really doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. It’s still very touching and inspiring!

    • Jim Helmer

      Still on Facebook as of two weeks ago. I still have it on my wall. True or not, it’s an awesome piece that I go back to when I need a gentle reminder.

  4. Moni

    It should be REEKS and not WREAKS! Plus, the letter is indeed a chain mail and comes embedded with code that is possibly reading your internet habits etc. And the FB account for the guy IMPLORES you to like the story and subscribe to his account etc., suggesting that there is certainly more than meets the eye when it comes to this cockle-warming story.

    • Marriage Lover

      Moni… in the context of the message of the post, I hope the most important thought you took from it was not a misspelled word, but thanks for the correction Also, you can rest assured that the “embedded code” situation you mention is not true. Coincidentally, I am in the tech industry and have an extensive background in this. I viewed the story from a friend’s wall post in Facebook, and it is not possible to embed code that tracks viewing history and adversely impacts your security or compromises your computer in a Facebook wall post or via “Liking” something..

    • TeeDee

      This story is indeed true. Look it up on

  5. Debbie

    Tears ! Closing of a life … It is the smallest things that change us at many stages in our lives — this was a MIRACLE !

  6. Chris Griffiths

    To anyone who ‘does not get’ the story of the taxi driver and the old lady….I say….you have lost touch with humanity…you are emotionally bereft….if you cannot carry out one simple act of kindness whilst you walk this path of life…then you are walking it for nothing!….and you will never know how good it feels to have compassion and kindness in your soul

  7. Fred

    Touching story Did something similar to that With my mother Before she passed away Drove my mother all over the place Stopping looking Around Telling her stories The mother spent 3 days in the hospital Nothing more could be done So I picked her up in her cadillac Drove her around town for a little while And drove home And put her in her bed 7 hours later she passed away A brain cancer The memories I have now of are driving around what always put a smile on her face. if I were a taxi driver I would probably do the same thing respect your elders listen to their stories especially if a person has no family the stories I could tell and put a smile on your face along with them

  8. Jesse

    Didn’t Jesus use parables(sorry if I misspelled) to teach very important lessons? Somehow, this story seems like it would had we just been told…hold your horses and be nice to old people.

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