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Blue Moments

This story was posted on Facebook by a friend and I looked around to see who wrote it.  Initially, it was written off as an urban legend with a Chicken Soup for the Soul twist.  As it turns out, it was originally written by a man named Kent Nerburn in his book, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace.  He calls these moments ‘Blue Moments’ where brilliant light shines through through the ordinary moments in our ordinary days.

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.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Susan #

    I got this a couple weeks ago in an email from Boyd and Nicholas, Inc, in their newsletter. One of those things that catch your eye. In that same issue, they had a great quote from John Lennon that stuck with me almost as much as that story – “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

    September 9, 2012

    • I love getting emails from Boyd and Nicholas. I did not see this one come through. It has been extremely busy this month and sadly, I have not taken the time to read every email that came through. I think I will change that policy because those emails invariably brighten my day. For those of you who didn’t see it from Boyd and Nicholas, enjoy. As far as Boyd and Nicholas goes, I don’t know them very well but if I needed a cost report, they would be my go to peeps. They have a stellar reputation for really understanding the way home health works from a financial perspective. Anyone out there with experience with Boyd and Nicholas, let me know. In about 4 – 6 months, I am going to be getting a ton of phone calls about cost reports. For the record, I do them for free but they are worth much less. I insert numbers based upon my mood and if I want a number with a curve in it or strictly straight lines. Sadly, they are as accurate as some out there…..

      September 13, 2012

    • Thank you so much for the plug to Boyd & Nicholas.

      September 14, 2012
  2. Susan #

    I received this in an email a few weeks ago, in a newsletter from Boyd and Nichols. It is one of those stories that touches the soul of everyone who reads it.

    September 9, 2012

  3. Life should be lived with an open heart and an acute ear to make sure we never miss a BLUE MOMENT

    September 10, 2012
  4. Peggy Farris #

    I was a hospice nurse for 8 years. Those were the most treasured years of my life. I met and cared for some of the most wonderful people. No matter the situation, I always have an uplifting story to tell. I agree with John Lennon. It’s not about how you die……it’s about how you live……

    September 10, 2012
    • Gail #

      Hey, Peggy. I was a Hospice nurse for only 14 months and it was the most spiritual and fullfilling experience in my long career. I left for reasons other than the actual nursing care itself. Even in the saddest moments, I felt really alive; partially because I WAS alive and partially because I knew that I had really made a difference in the patient’s and loved one’s lives. I too have some really uplifting stories and even funny stories. When my patients laughed with me at some little quip or off-hand remark, I reveled in their joy of the moment and my own…a Blue Moment.
      I am going to stop here because I can (and do sometimes) go on and on about my brief time with Hospice. I am so glad I went back to review my long list of emails to see that I missed this one somehow. Thank you Julianne for sharing this on your blog.

      September 20, 2012

      • I had the pleasure of hiring a bunch of hospice nurses several years ago. I have never worked hospice for any length of time. Hospice nurses are a special breed. I do find that many of them go back and forth between hospice and home health to prevent burn out. What I find really amazing is when family members talk about their experiences with hospice nurses. Tonight is Thursday. That means that the Hospice support group is meeting across the hall from me. Sometimes I don’t know if it is a singles group or a support group but they are hysterical and it is so touching to see these elderly people go from being depressed and isolated to feeling alive again. One little gentleman is even selling Avon now. He is bringing home some big bucks.

        September 20, 2012
  5. Terry #

    Maybe if we all took a\time out to help someone this would be a better woorld.

    September 11, 2012
  6. Dwelia Boyce #

    I am still in tears and speechless…………

    September 13, 2012

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