Love & the Cabbie
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 97 23:39:12 -0800
Subject: Love & the Cabbie
Forwarded-by: "Irene A. Mystery" <LadyHawke@Unforgettable.com>
"Love and The Cabbie"
By Art Buchwald
I was in New York the other day and rode with a friend in a taxi. When
we got out, my friend said to the driver, "Thank you for the ride. You did
a superb job of driving."
The taxi driver was stunned for a second. Then he said, "Are you a wise
guy or something?"
"No, my dear man, and I'm not putting you on. I admire the way you keep
cool in heavy traffic."
"Yeah," the driver said and drove off.
"What was that all about?" I asked.
I am trying to bring love back to New York," he said. "I believe it's
the only thing that can save the city."
"How can one man save New York?"
"It's not one man. I believe I have made that taxi driver's day. Suppose
he has 20 fares. He's going to be nice to those 20 fares because someone
was nice to him. Those fares in turn will be kinder to their employees or
shopkeepers or waiters or even their own families. Eventually the goodwill
could spread to at least 1,000 people. Now that isn't bad, is it?"
"But you're depending on that taxi driver to pass your goodwill to
"I'm not depending on it," my friend said. "I'm aware that the system
isn't foolproof so I might deal with ten different people today. If out of
ten I can make three happy, then eventually I can indirectly influence the
attitudes of 3,000 more."
"It sounds good on paper," I admitted, "but I'm not sure it words in
"Nothing is lost if it doesn't. It didn't take any of my time to tell
that man he was doing a good job. He neither received a larger tip nor a
smaller tip. If it fell on deaf ears, so what? Tomorrow there will be
another taxi driver I can try to make happy."
"You're some kind of a nut," I said.
"That shows how cynical you have become. I have made a study of this.
The thing that seems to be lacking, besides money of course, for our postal
employees, is that no one tells people who work for the post office what a
good job they're doing."
"But they're not doing a good job."
"They're not doing a good job because they feel no one cares if they do
or not. Why shouldn't someone say a kind word to them?"
We were walking past a structure in the process of being built and passed
five workmen eating their lunch. My friend stopped. "That's a magnificent
job you men have done. It must be difficult and dangerous work."
The workmen eyed my friend suspiciously.
"When will it be finished?"
"June," a man grunted.
"Ah. That really is impressive. You must all be very proud."
We walked away. I said to him, "I haven't seen anyone like you since The
Man From LaMancha."
"When those men digest my words, they will feel better for it. Somehow
the city will benefit from their happiness."
"But you can't do this all alone!" I protested. "You're just one man."
"The most important thing is not to get discouraged. Making people in
the city become kind again is not an easy job, but if I can enlist other
people in my campaign. . ."
"You just winked at a very plain-looking woman," I said.
"Yes, I know," he replied. "And if she's a schoolteacher, her class will
be in for a fantastic day."
© 1997 Peter Langston