An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

A must read

“The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget” by Kent Nerburn

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.

The last three paragraphs just about killed me. If you read only one thing this week let it be this.

Opening comments because this might spark some discussion.

(via MeFi)

  • I’ve seen this story before and it always brings a joyful tear to my eye. Thank you for reminding me that life’s best moments are the small ones.

  • sherri

    WOW….Thank you, that was a wonderfull story, why can’t everyone be that way…

  • Wow!
    Thanks for that Heather. I needed that.


  • ooooooooooooooooooooo SO GOOD! Made me cry– in the office.

  • so beautiful!
    that man did his good dead for about 1000 days

  • Loved the story; loved this comment as well:

    It’s a good reminder to be the person you want to be in every moment, not just the convenient ones.

  • Instant tears. That was really beautiful – thank you so much for sharing.

  • Sharon

    This stopped my self-absorbed, petty mood dead in its tracks. Many thanks.

  • That broke my heart. Totally.

  • Tesa

    {sniff sniff}

  • Tara

    I’ve seen this story before, but it has as much of an impact the second time around as the first. It makes me think. . . if I spent a little less time focused on myself, and a little more time focused on the needs and struggles of others, how much more beauty and grace could I find in the world?

  • Stunning.

    Thank you for linking it.

    It just goes to show how a little act of kindness can change someone’s life … or your own.

  • I have read this before, it is something that I think about often.

    I love that you posted it.

    Today was a good day for me to read it again.

  • I was hooked the minute he wrote that he turned off the meter. A beautiful story!

    Also, why aren’t more cab drivers so human? Why am I always getting the crazed bent-on-killing-me drivers?

  • Anonymous

    May I become at all times, both now and forever
    A protector for those without protection
    A guide for those who have lost their way
    A ship for those with oceans to cross
    A bridge for those with rivers to cross
    A sanctuary for those in danger
    A lamp for those without light
    A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
    And a servant to all in need.

  • “Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.”

    A lost friend, a lost love. A betrayal, a kindness, a sin, an absolution. I wonder what moment got replayed in her mind as they sat in silence?

    As the years pass and I find I have more years behind me than perhaps I do ahead, these same kinds of moments are piling up like pennies in a jar at the back of the closet. Forgotten until one day when you find them and sprinkle them through your fingers, one by one, realizing that they are worth a great deal.

    Thanks for posting this, Heather.

  • Sybann

    Wow. And Dooce/Heather, you are blessed for blessing us with it.

    May we all live in the moment and learn to appreciate what really matters.

  • Wow. Thank you for a moment of such beauty…

    We should all be so lucky to have a moment like that. So powerful… what a gift he gave that woman.

  • Patti

    Thank you so much. I said my final goodbyes to my Mom on Saturday. I should have bucked the rules and taken her on a drive when we had the chance. Your post helped me get rid of some pent-up sorrow.

  • Kate

    Kent Nerburn is amazing….I keep his piece “Falling in love” in my notebook and read it every so often.

    Great start to the week Dooce!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I want to be a better person. A nicer person. A person who would do this kind of thing for someone else. Too often I’m too hurried, too judgmental, and too self absorbed to be present enough in the moment to be this kind to those around me.

  • Sandra

    Thank-you. I had cancer surgery this past May—I’m now a survivor. When death or the possibility of death looks at you square in the face a complete sense of pure calm comes over you..I can relate to the women even though I’m only 45.

  • Jen

    MAAAAAAAAN…why aren’t you posting about politics and making me righteously angry? don’t you know that that’s what i depend on you for?? 😉

    now here i am, blubbering at work.

  • omdog

    That was truly amazing. Thank you for linking to that.
    I’ve been having a crappy frustrating day and really needed something to remind me of the gentle and decent aspects of what it means to be human. Ase.

  • randi

    it’s the smallest and most insignificant moments we have that normally can change a life. be it ours or even someoneelse’s. this was beautiful… tears ran down my face.

  • Kevin

    As I read this, “Prelude for Time Feeders” by Eluvium is playing on my iPod…. and I’m at work trying not to cry.

  • It is that one act of kindness that may change your life – and now that we’ve read this, many lives.

    Thanks Heather – you have indeed changed lives.


  • That was beautiful. Thank you for linking it. It really touched me.

  • By the way, (I’m still loving that piece) but I’m pretty sure that when you announce complete economic collapse or the Rapture or WWIII, there will be people who take a moment to say Top Ten! Woo hoo!!!

    Just chuckling. Hugs to all who may need one.

  • Stephanie

    This is akin to the movie Pay It Forward and to those Liberty Mutual commercials.

    The last paragraph rings true:

    “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.”

    What is miniscule to one person may be momentous to another. It’s how we handle those situations that make us who we are.

  • ac5

    I think I have used this as a sermon illustration before . . . it is touching.

  • Anonymous

    i always treat people the way i would want them to treat my mother or my grandmother…a wonderful story…thanks

  • Digibutter

    Thank you. I have had a horrible day and for some reason I just needed to read this and cry a little. Thank you for taking the time to post it. You’re awesome.

  • Thank you, Heather.

    Probably off topic but……I am heading back east to see my mom in a couple of weeks. While she’s not in a hospice, she is 91, has Parkinson’s, and is in a home for the aged. My 91 year old Dad can’t take care of her any longer. I asked her once, a few years ago, just before she became too ill to stay at home, what, if anything, she had never done and regreted. She looked at me, tears welling in her soft, brown eyes and she said, “Dance.” I asked her why dance? She has always loved to dance, went to dances frequently with my dad – I didn’t get it. She said, “I danced occasionally, but I never lived life as a dance. I want you to live your life as a never-ending dance.” I never really got it until I looked up dance in the dictionary. Now whenever she sees me, she asks, “Are you dancing?” And sometimes I can honestly say I am.

  • Ariel

    I think I am newly pregnant, my hormones are a mess and I’m sobbing.
    I worked in hospice for a year and it was beautiful 🙂

  • brozy

    Beautiful. I come here looking for a laugh. I love how frequently you give me something profound to think about, instead.

  • Stacie

    Good God that was beautiful. Father in Law just passed last week in a hospice situation, and I hope he got everything he wanted out of his last few weeks.

  • Anonymous

    “Also, why aren’t more cab drivers so human? Why am I always getting the crazed bent-on-killing-me drivers?”

    Maybe you should give to them what you’re expecting they give to you.

  • Lisa

    Now go see the movie “Ghost Town”…….

    What is that saying? “It is better to give than to receive”…makes an ordinary day a holiday….

  • Anonymous

    I always try and do something unexpected for others. It’s often not appreciated by my friends and family. They think I’m a softie and warn me that not every sob story is true.

  • Angela

    Beautiful. We never know when we will be given the opportunity to minister to someone’s need, or how ordinary the act may seem in the grand scheme of things.

  • Truly a beautiful story and not one I had read before. I dread the day that my parents (or loved ones for that matter) become in need of a hospice but I am so grateful that they exist.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    This was a nice change from the politics…..

  • Shannon

    Cried like the rest… A good thoughtful cry.
    Human all, regardless of party.
    I have lost both grandmothers & my grandfather to cancer. All stayed at home with family & hospice. My mother in law has now had both breasts removed. Countless other friends & acquaintances affected. Sad facts. I am a cancer survivor. Detected at 29. Still kicking at 39. Every second of your life counts. My son, now 12 years old, has had a mother who didn’t die when he was too little to remember. We should all count our blessings no matter how small they may seem because there is always someone else who would be happy to have them. I hope everyone takes a moment to visit the Stand Up To Cancer website. This disease is epidemic.

  • Thank you for that.
    Thank you.

  • tracy

    thank you. I will remember this story as a reminder that’s the sort of person I want to be. someone who can make a difference in just one person’s life.

  • Why do people care about being in the top 10 so much? Methinks they need to get a life. No offense to you, of course.

    Thanks for linking this, I hadn’t seen it. It was beautiful.

  • Rooth

    Whoo woo top 100.
    I don’t know if this is true I sure hope so… its so poignant. Thanks for sharing Heather

  • OMG…so emotional…especially when I really think hard about how many elderly are out there, who never experience this type of kindness in their later years.

    I’m gonna go cry now, and eat chocolate, and hug my family.

  • That was so beautiful and touching. Thank you.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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