The Story of a Passenger
Twenty years ago, I drove a taxi for a living.
One night I went to pick up a passenger at 2:30 AM.
When I arrived there, I walked to the door and knocked.
“Just a minute,” answered a weak, elderly voice.
After a long pause, the door opened. An old man in his eighties stood before me. By his side was a small suitcase.
When we got into the taxi, he gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”
“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.
“Oh, I’m in no hurry,” he said. “I’m on my way to a hospice（收容所）. I don’t have any family left. The doctor says I don’t have very long.”
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city.
He showed me the building where he had once worked and the neighborhood where he had lived.
Sometimes he’d ask me to slow down in front of a special building and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
In the early morning, he suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”
We drove in silence to the address he had given me.
“How much do I pay you?” he asked.
“Nothing.” I said.
“You have to make a living,” he answered.
“Oh, there are other passengers,” I answered.
Almost without thinking, I gave him a hug. He held on to me and said, “You gave an old man a little moment of joy.”