Goodness: Never Good Enough and Not Your Job

The Cab Ride: A sweet lesson on kindness, nobility, and ethics.

The Internet is filled with stories that are published on blogs and propagated by email. Stories to make you laugh or cry, and stories that will give you hope. This is one such story about a story of virtue and patience that’s flying across Facebook this week that you’ve probably seen, about the cabbie who helped a poor old woman on her way to a hospice which is being shared en masse.

The pilfered and tweaked story of patience that’s been floating across the Internet for at least the last 6 years with varying revisions. The initially unattributed snag and tweak from Chapter 7 of “Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: Living in the spirit of the prayer of St. Francis” by Kent Nerburn, Harper Collins, 1999.

The original story in the published book from 13 years ago is Nerburn’s telling of something he claims to have done 20 years prior while working the dog shift and driving a cab in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although the pilfered and tweaked version is mostly the same as the published work from 13 years ago, there are some interesting changes … like the very start of the pilfered tale:

A sweet 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.

Sounds good, but not true.

It ended up being his last ride but it wasn’t going to be and he wasn’t an NYC cabbie and he doesn’t even say that he honked his horn twice or even once, although all that helps to set a more dramatic stage. The impatient and gruff NYC cabbie was tooting his horn and was going to leave, but he had some kind of epiphany of sorts and changed his mind for some reason. Yeah. Hey, maybe God inspired him.


As Nerburn says in his own telling of his own story:

When I arrived at the address, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground-floor window. Under these circumstances many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a short minute, then drive away. Too many bad possibilities awaited a driver who went up to a darkened building at two-thirty in the morning.

But I had seen too many people trapped in a life of poverty who depended on the cab as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation had a real whiff of danger, I always went to the door to try to find the passenger. It might, I reasoned, be someone who needed my assistance.

Reference: Google Books

From here on the pilfered version that’s making so many people misty is pretty much the same as the published work aside from aging the woman by an extra decade. I guess a woman in her 80s wasn’t dramatic enough so someone needed to kick her up into the 90s.

Granted, this sort of nitpicking is somewhat petty, but I think it’s more telling of what far too many people are really like.

There are roughly 7 billion people in the world and nice things happen every second of every day. As you read this, someone is helping a little old lady across the street while someone else is saving a cute little doggie from a cruel puppy mill. Volunteers for groups like the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are out there dedicating their lives to providing food, clothing, and shelter to others.

Yet, even with all of this, people routinely lay their faith and hopes for humanity at the feet of anonymous stories that are pilfered, tweaked, or even complete fabrications.

If you’re so sweet, nice, and noble …

Why do you steal someone’s published work, work that was nice and sweet to begin with, but you felt a need to tweak it for some extra drama? Their work, their story, but that goodness just wasn’t good enough for you.

How do you post comments on these sorts of stories about how they made you weep and gave you hope for man’s kindness and caring for his fellow man, but then you go back to your own pages and profiles and life to rage? Raging about those queers signing pieces of paper which in turn mean they are legally married, a union that is meaningless to anyone but them. Raging about those worthless people on welfare and without a job, a job you are fortunate enough to have, a job which gives you money to pay taxes that are wasted feeding these worthless people. Raging about those illegal immigrants sneaking in and stealing those crappy manual labor jobs with poor pay that you don’t even want. Raging about the government providing aid to countries filled with people living in their own filth and working for virtually nothing as they make the trinkets that you buy for cheap-cheap.

Every now and again someone steps to the plate and tries to bust my hump for not posting enough in the way of touching stories that will make them cheery and bring a little warm sunshine into their lives.

My thought on that?

Instead of moaning to me and demanding that I go out and find you some sunshine, remove your selfish backside from the couch, go out, make a nice story happen, tell YOUR story, share YOUR story, and every once in a while I’ll pinch your cheeks, put you up on the pedestal and pat you on the back here and on the Look Dumbass Facebook page so everyone knows how marvelous you are.

No, it’s not nice to be critical of “good” people and a post like this certainly won’t win me any friends or influence people. Will over 200,000 people like this, will over 150,000 people share this, will over 32,000 people comment on this post as they have on that pilfered and tweaked post on one such Facebook page?

Get serious.

I won’t get anywhere remotely close to that positive activity and I fully expect to lose a bunch of “likes” on the Look Dumbass Facebook page and maybe even some personal friends, but at least I’m not pretending to be something I’m not and that’s gotta count for something. Well, at least it does in my books and that’s just fine with me.

Feel free to bitch about this if you’re so inclined but if you like and crave the misty then stop pilfering stories that other people write about their own lives. Hell, if you like the cabbie story then pop by and send a little love Kent’s way.

It’s his story and he’s the nice guy … not me.