Well last Saturday night I met an elderly lady who missed her bus and was stuck downtown. (She was frail, and walked with what I would describe as a slow and wobbly step. She reminded me of Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.) It was 8 pm and the buses stopped running at 7 pm. I asked the woman if she could call someone to pick her up. She said that she had just moved and had no phone and no one to call to pick her up. I asked her how far away she lived and she said that it was not that far and gave me the name of one major street by her home.
I seriously considered taking her to a taxi and having the taxi driver take her home at my expense. I quickly discarded this notion as I replayed her climbing into my cab with my assistance. Could I trust a taxicab driver with my passenger? I decided that I could not. Now that I was committed to taking the old woman home I started asking her what landmarks she could remember were near her new home. She narrowed down my options by informing me that she lived near a corner liquor store located next to a small restaurant.
Taking what I know of the area where she lives I started riding for the street she could remember the name of. I figured that if I started riding that she would eventually see the liquor store and/or the restaurant and we'd find her home in no time. I figured that she lived in one of two places and started riding hoping that I was correct. As we entered the first intersection I thought might be the correct one I asked her if she saw anything that looked familiar. She responded that she did not. I told her not to worry because it was just a matter of time before we arrived at her home.
Well, about a 1/2 mile later we approached the second intersection that fit her criteria. I again asked her if anything looked familiar. She paused, squinted and then recognized the two corner businesses. I asked her which way did I needed to drive and she told me to turn left, which I did as soon as the light turned green.
After a left turn and then another right turn we approached her home. I pulled up along side the curb next to her residence and dismounted from my pedicab. As I reached out to help my passenger off the pedicab she started crying. Through her tears she thanked me and apologized for having no money to give me. I explained that I didn't want her money and that I was just glad that she was home now. After helping her down off my cab she continued to cry as she gave me the tightest hug she could offer.
I am by no means the nicest man in the world, but for a moment last Saturday night, I was the nicest man in the world for elderly woman who I have never met. And that is the best tip of all.
Cross posted at Pedicab blog.