The Cab Driver story — an update and a possible speaking tour

Well, the saga continues.  My story about picking up the woman in the cab has, as of this morning, had over 1.6 million hits on one website (It’s all about women) and 850,000 on another (Zenmoments.org).  There is no telling how many other sites are passing it around, and how great the proliferation is.

I’m left wondering what it is about the story that has captured the hearts of so many.  Part of it would seem to be the simple fact that the elderly and helpless cry out to our hearts.  We see the echoes of our own future in their faces, and they embody all our latent respect and fear for our own parents.  We’d like to think that the world will treat us and them in the same fashion.

But that yearning and hunger would not be so great if it were not set against the dark backdrop of a world that seems so uncaring toward the weak and helpless.  It would be easy for me to go on a diatribe here, but it would serve no purpose.  What matters is that there is a hunger in the human heart for acts of caring, both toward us and by us.  And this, I think, is part of the real power of the story:  we want what we do to matter.  We want to believe that our small gestures can have real results.  This story speaks to that hunger.

What is most fascinating to me is that it is young people, by and large, who have written me about the story.  They want to praise me as a good man and thank me for what I did.  But what they really are saying is, “I would do the same thing if only I had the chance.”  They see it as a reminder and a mirror to their own best aspirations.

This younger generation has a rough road to travel, and I really, really like them.  They remind me, in their frustration and idealism of my own generation.  They’ve seen the hollowness of a materialistic future, yet they know that the forces of a materialist society demand their participation in some measure or they’ll be plowed under.  They haven’t seen their idealism rewarded and they refuse to acquiesce to the cynicism that seems the only logical response.  A story like the cab driver story speaks to a way to live in the cracks between an unrewarded idealism and an unproductive cynicism.  It reminds them of the truth of the words of Confucius, poorly paraphrased here, that we must value the small as well as the great.

This is a small story of a small moment of two small people.  But something good was created, and in that creation, bought a bit of light into the world.

I am giving some thought to putting together a speaking tour on this story.  If any of you would be interested in helping me arrange something in your city, write me at knerburn@kentnerburn.com.  We’ll see what we can do.

9 comments

  1. Abbie says:

    This is my first time visit at here and i am truly
    impressed to read everthing at alone place.

  2. robin andrea says:

    I’ve read your story many times, linked over the years by friends on Facebook. I found you via Snopes, while checking again to make sure that this is a true story written by a real person about a real experience. I am grateful for this truth. What you have to say about young people breaks my heart a little bit. I was an adviser at a California university for many years. I found my students to be utterly engaged and eager truth-seekers. I feel so sad about the world we are leaving to them. How can they navigate between idealism and cynicism in a world that has almost completely yielded to cynicism, environmental degradation, and dominion? I wait to hear their voices, loud, clear and clamoring. I will once again add my voice to the sum of voices.

  3. LW says:

    Is this a real story and person or did you make it up like you made up Dan? I respect you as much as Dan respected you – meaning it is as real as he was.

  4. LW says:

    I see, only sycophants are allowed to post. Or am I allowed to post my opinion that I find you incredibly disingenuous.

  5. Tia Lavasii says:

    Really love the story but i just wanna know the setting. I wanna know where it takes place cause it’s what our class are discussing.So that’s it.But I really love the story and I’m really impressed at how the the driver reacts to the old woman. Also it’s really telling me an important lesson. That is to respect elderly people and showing kindness to others.

  6. http://odziez-rekawice.pl says:

    I’m just writing to make you understand of the cool experience our daughter encountered studying your blog. She discovered lots of pieces, including what it’s like to have a great teaching heart to let other individuals effortlessly fully understand selected extremely tough topics. You undoubtedly did more than visitors’ desires. Thanks for rendering the informative, safe, explanatory and as well as easy tips about that topic to Ethel.

  7. Pam says:

    So glad to see you back here again, Kent! It’s been a while, and I’ve missed reading the thoughts you share with us. Hoping to see more of you in the near future!

    It was interesting to me to hear of the recent surge in interest in your story about the cab ride. I work in a domestic violence/sexual assault crisis center, and part of my job is training staff and volunteers who will be working with survivors. Today, as I was working on putting together a new version of the training manual I’ll use with these folks, I thought of your story, and how well it demonstrates the difference we can make in another person’s life through our actions. I thought to include it (with the proper attribution to you) in my manual. I hope that’s okay. Then I chance upon your blog this evening and find your post on the story. Pretty cool!

  8. knerburn says:

    I’m sorry, Lori, that I didn’t approve your post. I’m updating my website — I lost my webmaster and have never even looked at my comments. In changing webmasters I was informed of the comments and found almost 800 just sitting there, yours among them. You’re certainly welcome to post, though I don’t know how the new design is going to shake out. And, as to the content of your post, I don’t understand the vitriol. If you don’t respect me and have drawn your conclusions about the veracity of my work based on whatever inner logic you use, why don’t you go find something to do that benefits other people rather than merely sitting at the keyboard spitting rage into cyberspace? I understand the temptation — I feel it myself very often. But independent of me and my work, you do yourself no service by focusing on things that make you so angry. And, for what it’s worth, neither Dan nor the cab driver story was made up. But you probably don’t care about that.

  9. Abeer Allan says:

    This is so inspiring, and I can relate to every word said, we do live in a materialistic world, so we have this “burning” hunger for a hope for kindness. Whether this story is real or not, it does not matter or make it any less important. It is indeed a reminder for how good it feels to go through suck great moments when we truly touch someone else’s life and in a way they touch ours.

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