“Oh no sir, it isn’t outside. We are running two hours behind because of the weather.”
“It is 7am and I called for the car for 7am. Do you think you could have let me know it was two hours behind a few minutes ago?” (NOTE: I didn’t say that but I really wanted to let it rip.)
So, I make a dash for the door, lugging easily 40 pounds of paper, in a clean suit and shined shoes. I run outside into the snow and start doing the time tested New Yorker Cab Dance. Related to other ritualistic dances, the Cab Dance includes jumping with one hand in the air while leaning as far into the street as possible, uttering words phrases like, “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE,” and following it up with statements about the cabby’s mother when the cab does not stop.
By the time three cab drivers look at me, flip on their “Off Duty” lights and drive on it is getting to the point where the blood pressure is heading towards stroke-ville and my face looks something out of a Tim Burton movie.
Then finally, a Limo-style SUV pulls up and asks me where I am heading.
I tell him and ask how much.
“I can’t take you there but I can get you to the subway,” said the driver.
I reply with many thank yous in rapid succession, the traditional end of the ritualized New Yorker Cab Dance, and ask again about the cost of the trip.
Mohamed “Mo” Mahdy, driver and general good guy, ignores my ask again to tell me that he is waiting for his boss to be done with a meeting and he just needs to be in the neighborhood, so he can take me to the subway. Then he drops some serious wisdom on me:
“When you see your fellow human beings dying in the streets, you know you have to help other people out when you can.”
What do you say to something like this? I was standing shin deep in snow, with a heavy box, cursing passing cars and he stops and gives me a lift to 77th and Lex and shares what could possibly be the essences of every religion and cultural norm in the world: Be good to the people around you if you can, because life can be short and cruel.
We talked for the trip. I got out at the subway and took the train getting there in time for the 7:30 meeting. I sent him a thank you note and mentioned that I would let my office, family and friends know that if they ever needed a car service to pick them up for an airport run or meeting or anything else that they should get in touch with him.
I am sure he doesn’t know the impact he had on me personally and my day, but it was a profound experience at 7:10 am on that snowy Friday morning. There are good people all around us and we all have the power to be good; my friend Mo proved that by giving me a ride to the subway, saving my sanity, my presentations and my shoes. But I suppose, as he said, you know you have to help out when you can.
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