11 May 2012

A poignant story about a cab ride

I first heard the story perhaps ten years ago, I believe on This American Life - a simple, brief story about an elderly lady taking a ride in a taxicab.   It was incredibly touching.  Later I heard (?where) that it was fiction disguised as a true story.  Now, a report in the StarTribune indicates that it was, in fact, a true story, and that the author was in fact a cab driver:
Kent Nerburn is an author and sculptor, a husband, grandfather and long-time advocate for Native Americans. This week, 65-year-old Nerburn also is an Internet sensation.

A poignant essay Nerburn penned more than 15 years ago about his time as a Minneapolis cab driver has made that thoroughly 21st century leap: It's gone viral. His piece has been reprinted on Huffington Post and Snopes.com (which confirmed that, yes, it really happened!), shared nearly 40,000 times on Facebook and viewed more than 780,000 times on Zenmoments.org.

Most sites have titled it "The Cab Ride" or The Taxi Driver," but Nerburn's original title reflects the soul-filled insights of a man with a doctoral degree in religious studies. He calls it: "And where there is sadness, joy."..

When in his late 30s and single, Nerburn worked as a sculptor, but it was tough to make ends meet. He started driving a cab during the night shift. One night, he responded to a call at 2:30 a.m. from someone living at a four-plex near the University of Minnesota...

When he arrived, all he saw was a single light in a ground-floor window. He almost drove away, afraid, but something kept him there. He walked to the door and knocked. A frail elderly woman stood before him with her suitcase...
You can read one version of the story at Snopes, but I'm hoping some reader of this blog will know of an audio link (it may be at T.A.L., but I can't find it with a keyword search and can't remember the program title).


  1. http://www.wolfnordog.com/

  2. Longtime reader, never commented before. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you directing me to this. It is a beautiful story, and one that really hit me hard. I got choked up just reading it.

    1. Thank you. You might check back later to see if anyone finds the audio, which is what choked me up when I was driving my car one day.

  3. Thank you, Stan. I was unaware of the story, but by reading it I was left with something of incredible beauty and value.

  4. I've been listening to every TAL in order. I'm only up to 1999 but when I get to this one I'll let you know!

    (BTW, the TAL live show was fantastic, if you can catch the tuesday encore at a local theater, DO IT.)

  5. That's a beautiful story. It makes me believe in humanity once more.

    Sometimes humans can be jerks, but other times they can be angels.

    Funny how life is.


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