A lesson on patience

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

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.

 

// Thx – Kristoffer Sorensen

Bike sharing comes to Los Angeles with Bike Nation

A couple of years ago bike sharing came to Washington D.C. when I was living there. At first the concept confused me until someone explained that it’s like a taxi, designed to get you from one point to another. With enough stations it can be a convenient, healthy, and cheaper method to get around town.

I ended up using them everyday for about a month and loving it. Now, that same service is coming to Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will unveil a $16-million bike-share program Sunday that aims to put thousands of bicycles at hundreds of rental kiosks across the city.

Initial plans are to add 400 stations and 4,000 bicycles over the next 18 to 24 months in areas around downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Playa del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach.

The private investment from Bike Nation will not need any city money, according to the mayor’s office and the company. Bike Nation has agreed to a minimum contract of 10 years.

“This is exactly what L.A. needs,” CicLAvia organizer Aaron Paley said. “If you take the bus, or you take the train, or you’re walking out of your house and you need to get somewhere, how do you accomplish that short trip in between? Bike share is definitely the way to do it.”

more at – LA Times Local

The service becomes one more crucial link for those living a car-free life.

The rates are much cheaper than a taxi at $1.50/hour or $6/day, with trips shorter than 30 minutes being free. But you can expect most folks to one-year pass for $75 (students/seniors, $60).

Bike Nation also has plans to create a smaller program in Anaheim in June.

Entrepreneurs Taking on Cabs

A few years ago I was in New York chatting with a cabby. The fellow was dirty, smelly, and overweight but fun to talk to. Especially since we were asking him about the black sedans that were all over the city. You can get in one, trade cell phone numbers with the driver, and have your own personal sedan service.

The cabby completely hated those sedans. He said they were unregulated and dangerous. They were obviously stealing business from the city regulated cabs. Throughout the whole conversation he didn’t say one thing that would deter me from taking the sedan.

I mean who doesn’t want to be in a clean black sedan with tinted windows, leather seats, and a clean driver in a suit?

Turns out I’m not the only one wants this. The personal sedan service in NYC is booming and so is Uber the start-up trying to capitalize on the business.

The company operates in a super efficient system. You text that you need a ride, they pick you up and drive you to your destination, and the price/tip is automatically charged to your card.

Right now the company only operates in San Francisco and NYC, but it won’t be long until it spreads like Zipcars.

That is if it can overcome the city bureaucracy, cab unions, and government law suits.

MG Siegler has written up how the city has slapped them with 20,000 hours of jail time with a cease-and-desist letter. The latter link goes into detail on why the company is so disruptive and threatening to the traditional cab system. It’s a fun read and super exciting for it’s revolutionary prospects in taxi industry (aka make it easier, cleaner, and safer).

I’ll go on the record right now and say that cabbies can be real a-holes. They seem to drive like they own the streets and can do whatever they want. Cleanliness, A/C, and politeness are like a dice roll. It’s as if they have a monopoly and are in need of competition…

We’ll see what happens with particular attention focused on tomorrow’s San Francisco cab strike and Uber’s half off discount during the strike, lol.