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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hospital Adventure, and an inspiring New Yorker.

Sometimes when you drive a taxi, especially in New york, you eventually have someone who is feeling ill and wants to get to the nearest hospital or a clinic of their choice as soon as possible. Believe it or not we are quicker than an ambulance most of the time and we won't charge you $1000.oo for the trip. Generally they are accompanied with a friend. Last week however I had an experience with a lovely woman who was not feeling good, she was alone and needed a hospital immediately. I drove her there quickly, and she let me know later how she was doing.

She sent me an email to let me know she was doing better. She told me I could post the letter, so I'll let you see how it played out. Going into the holiday season with helping someone even though in a very small way makes you feel good. So keep up the spirits people, I sometimes drive around cursing the world that I need to drive a cab and work a day job to survive, but my experiences in the taxi are far more real than I ever anticipated...and that's a great thing.

First letter to the King:

11/22 - Sally Loper -- I got into your cab, bleeding out of my mediport. (That's something connected to me, with chemotherapy. It's not supposed to bleed. It's supposed to be disconnected after 48 hours, but this was the day before.) The people at the NYU Cancer Center told me to get there ASAP. They said "put on anything, just get yourself here as soon as you can. We'll wait for you." I was terrified.
You were just great! I only told you enough for you to drive as fast as you could, and to go through yellow lights. The traffic was really bad.
You paid attention to my name, so if I passed out you'd know it. You were so worried. You did a great job driving, told me you had been an EMT at one point (so I knew I was in great hands.)
You kept on asking me how I felt. I was just scared and nervous, but not feeling as if I would faint. But I was grateful you were asking.
When I got out of your cab, you wanted to walk me in to the Cancer Center. I didn't need you to do so, but the offer was really appreciated.
I want to thank you so much for your kindness and courtesy. You were just great.
Sally Loper
PS: If you want to put this note on your web site, please do.

My response:


I apologize for not having returned a response sooner, but my computer was broken and I just received it back from repair. I read the email you sent me the day after, however for some computer reason, I could not type !! Now I can, and I can't tell you how relieved and happy I was to see you reply back so soon and that you were doing better !

You are an inspiring New Yorker !

You said you were "terrified"? Well you could have fooled me !! Here's my version !!

As you spoke on your cell phone with purpose to set the receiving medical team in motion at NYU and softly ask me to take yellow lights because you were...BLEEDING !! It did not stop there, you then in true New Yorker mode asked to smoke, lit up a cigarette, and told me how the city was going to shit. Then you adamantly said "The city couldn't even feed the homeless" !!
( thinking of others as you were terrified, a true angel indeed has arrived in my taxi ! )

You then drew in a puff of smoke and let it out with a spiteful look that told me right there that you are a fighter and nothing can beat YOU down.

I told my whole family about you the next day and how brave you were walking into the hospital on your own ! They were just as happy as I was to hear that you replied through my website! I am grateful that you did.

I lost my mother to cancer in 1997 and today would have been her birthday. She fought cancer bravely and blew smoke in its face ( smoked her whole life ) for 20 years ( they told her she had less than 6 months and to say goodbye to family ) before finally losing the battle at a young 57, but she gave quite the fight for a very long time and you reminded me of her that night as you do today. I was only doing what I was trained to do in those circumstances and was more than happy to give any help, whether it be blowing red lights or just moral support. The bottom line is you are a very brave woman, give yourself the credit because you deserve it. Cool, calm, and collected as you became your own EMT. No ambulance...Move with a purpose. Not an easy task bleeding into a mediport and go hail a taxi.

It was my pleasure to meet you Ms.Loper and thank you again for your much too generous tip. Thank you for inspiring me, and my family...and tomorrow as I celebrate Thanksgiving with my loved ones, know that you will be there with us as we toast you. I wish you all the health in the world and hope the holidays bring you great times. Please tell your friends/family my side of the story, I'm sure they will not be surprised.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Ms.Loper's Response:
I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Fifty-seven is so young. It's interesting; it's only 9 years later, but there was an article in the paper about cancer now being a "chronic disease"; i.e., that so many new discoveries are constantly being made that people don't die. I'm sorry for her and for you. Losing a mother at any time is truly a traumatic, life-changing event. I don't think you ever quite get over it completely.
You were so cute. You seemed initially very cautious, not knowing quite what to say. I worried that you might be scared, asking my name so if I passed out, you could get me help. But then I think you just became worried, which I'm sure I conveyed to you. (Worry is contagious!)

Then it was so great hearing about your working in Wall Street, and your web site. You seem like such a creative guy, not letting the dust settle under your feet. I'm sure many other men on Wall Street aren't working a cab at night. I forgot myself completely, just interested in what you were telling me.
I'm so pleased you still have a whole family with whom you spent Thanksgiving! (It's only my sister and myself now, and we are not good friends at all. That may change at any time.)

I spent Thanksgiving with two close girlfriends, and one of their mother's, 90 years old, and amazingly lively, great looking, entertaining, etc. (She is a bit conventional and superficial, which my friend has been fighting against her entire life, but we all felt good she was with us and enjoying herself. We found out, just think, that she took a cruise to South America on her honeymoon. Life was so different in the 1930's when she got married.)

Anyway, I digress. Your note back to me was entirely unexpected.
I have a sense that whatever you end up doing, you'll be quite successful. You are a charming, warm, personable, bright man. I'm sure the people around you admire you.
Best, best wishes,

Wow. What a nice woman to take the time out of her schedule to say such nice things to a New York Hack. I've helped people before only to be ignored or just reactions like" you only drove us there" whether it was medical or I gave someone a break in the freezing cold and drove them home for pennies. Some people suck.

Ms.Loper does not, and in fact is a genuinely awesome person..I hope her sister and herself can mend whatever broken fence needs to be repaired. Life is too short, I have been mad at family before and mending the relationship is always the better alternative.

I was fortunate to meet her and share our little adventure to the hospital and not only did she tip me well which was my least concern , she thanked me with these letters. True kindness.

As the holiday season has arrived, help the homeless or anyone else you think may need a little break, there are a lot worse off people than you and I. I really hope you enjoyed reading this experience, its a real New York Hack moment not to be overlooked. My mother had a creed she lived by, "Be an Angel, Practice random acts of kindness" seems Ms.Loper does too, keep inspiring us Ms.Loper and I'll keep watching over the city streets as I faithfully remain, The King Of New York Hacks. Peace out peepers.


  1. Wiping happy tears as I read this. I think you two were meant to connect...someway, somehow. I believe you are both better people for your brief interaction.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this with your readers.


  2. What an inspiration you are! And wonderful to hear that there really are people like you in New York - you know what a bad rep the city always gets. You help give it a heart, and I think you're great!

  3. That was a really heart-warming story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. THAT is why I believe that the "heart of life is good." That was an incredibly inspiring post! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Very Cool Hack.....You're dead right. I always get p*ssed off at life and I forget to realize how fortunate I am. I almost croaked from cancer in 2001. I need to realize how lucky I am. I need to give back more and appreciate life. Thanks.

  6. wow, above and beyond. truly an inspiration to us all to never give up on our purposes of kindness.

  7. To Edward, "The Cute" this really teared me up. Both of you exceptional people and making me glad to be witness to this.

    Love your message about helping someone this season.

    And didn't realize until now that this is not your day job - no wonder you know so much financial stuff.

    Edward, you're quite the guy!!!

  8. Wow. What an awesome story. Thanks for sharing all that - and for watching over the angel.

    Angels watching over angels. That so works.

    Glad you visited my blog! Please come back!

  9. Dude, that's a great story. I think that people meet when they need to - she needed to meet you on that day and at the same time I think you may have needed to meet her as well, if for no other reason than to show that there are still good and thankful people out there. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. I'm a true believer in the magic of acts of random kindness. Thanks for sharing yours.

    My hero.

  11. What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing

  12. This is an amazing gimpse into NY life - much respect, dude.

  13. It's nice to know that there are still good people out there!!

  14. Man, someone pass me a tissue, will you? This post gave me goosebumps. I love connecting with complete strangers, sharing a mutual laugh, or an obvious similar response to something that's going on around us. But we usually move on, don't we, making little impact on one another's lives.

    You both hit the jackpot here, and bothered to follow up. It does make you feel good, doesn't it? Ya kind of have to wonder sometimes, if it wasn't just a coincidence that you were the one to pick her up that day.

    Rock on, King.

  15. You truly are a darling man. And what a gracious lady!

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us all, especially at a time when too many people seem preoccupied with what they can get for themselves.

    Your mother must be smiling in heaven. I know I always hope my mother is.

  16. Sounds like the New York I remember. I lived half time in NYC and half time in LA for 5 years long ago. (Lost some good friends in 9/11 and still come back to remember them.)

    P.S. Saw your comment over on my blog - glad you enjoyed it!

  17. She sounds awesome! I would have been terrified if my port had been bleeding! You handled the situation awesomely too! :)

  18. Just goes to show that people are people, and Good People are the best.
    Thanks for posting that.

  19. Stories like these only happen in New York City. Everyone thinks New Yorkers are nasty and this completely proves them wrong. God I miss the city...

  20. Hi everyone It is the holiday season now, and like all of you I was touched too by this story. A great way to give back this time of year especially to children is to, go to your local post office and pick up a letter a child has written to Santa( the post office keeps these letters separate from the regular mail) and answer that letter. They'll be happy, and so will you. Or if you want donate blood. there is a major blood shortage going on. Its so bad that they go to high schools now and ask students to volunteer to donate. If you see a homless person on the street dont give him $$$ buy them something to eat, pizza, burger king, anything..
    Happy Holidays to all and to all please pay it foward.

  21. What an awesome story! So glad you shared! Thanks for stopping by my blog today! :)

  22. What a perfect fitting post for this time of year. Remember to give and be gracious when recieving.

    You are a pretty great hack - you know that right?

  23. Oh, and when I come to NYC this summer ... I'm waiting on your corner...especially if I need a friend or a trip to the hospital.

  24. Know any literary agents?

    God is typing with 1 finger on my left hand a pain.

  25. an inspiration.

    Thanks for posting. I envy your day-to-day opportunity to meet people as unique/kinda/hopeful as this.


  26. That is such a great story! You two were meant to meet for some reason. So inspirational and I am sure that it meant a lot to her to hear from you. Keep giving us updates.

    Btw, thanks for checking out my blog!

  27. So many chances in life are lived where and impact can be offered of positive in any situation. I have not always been the forbearer of positive infomation and out and out lack at times. Life has eaten me up so bad that caring is and after thought. No I'm not bitter, jusr bitten and weary of all. I worked Oncology as a nurse for several years and several stories touch me as well as this one. Atonement comes to mind. Atonement for someone who reminded you of your Mother to show up and say that she is alright in the perverbial way.
    And to me it says that it will be alright.
    Life ends and then begins in the minds eye of the Lord.
    Thanks Hack.

  28. A proud salute from me to you fellow cabbie. I love the way we, in essence, become all-purpose public service agents on the streets in our profession. Such a feeling of honor and duty. ON DUTY! Wish more of us treated our job that way. I've had two emergency hospital fares in my two years of cab driving. One was a young Mexican lady going into labor and her older brother was there to escort her. I picked them up near Carnegie Hall and they requested Lenox Hill. The Central Park Drive was open so we got over to 72nd Street without all the bumps and braking, and much quicker than it would have otherwise. They couldn't speak much English and when I started responding in Spanish their faces lit up with enormous appreciation. She held it together until we reached the ER entrance, behind all the orange ambulances. The other experience happened a few months later. I was crawling up Third Avenue in Midtown, on the leftmost lane, skimming parked cars and glancing over at every pedestrian on the sidewalk. This middle aged woman in a suit was walking back to her office from lunch with a coworker. All of a sudden she literally fell to the ground before my eyes. I stopped right then and there. Her coworker and I slowly got her into the cab and I drove her to Bellevue. She had torn something in her ankle on a trench in the pavement and was in great pain. When we pulled into the driveway I ran inside to request a wheelchair. They were parked neatly but the folks at the info booth shrugged it off and stayed glued to their phones. I took one and went right back to the cab. Someone helped me put her in it and someone else took over in the lobby. She was so grateful. I loved the adrenaline, endorphins, or whatever was seeping into my brain.

  29. Your post made me smile today. As a whole we do not do enough for our neighbors and this is a great reminder for everyone.

  30. Nice post!

    Thanks for visiting my blog this week; you asked a question and I answered... here's the link:

    See you around the blogosphere!

  31. Kindness is often unexpected, and always inspires...sometimes it can make your whole day.

  32. I love reading your stories. You are the one that constantly reminds me that there are good, wonderful people in the world. I had tears in my eyes with this one and well, almost always do when I come here. I just adore you,

  33. Hack,

    I see now that there is more than one superhero working the streets, and this one drives a cab. I'll see you at the next conference. I'll be the one sitting next to wonder woman.

    Brothers in Arms,


  34. The most amazing angels in my life have been the humans who took the time. We can all be part-time angels while we're here, and I think you both proved that in one ride :-)

  35. great story- people are often too scared to "get involved" and reach out and help someone who needs it. I always spend Christmas afternoon handing out stew & rolls to people I find in alleys. Feeling like I've done something to help someone is usually my best gift every year.

  36. Nice to see there are some 'real' people out there - yerself included

  37. Thank you for your comment!

    This is such a wonderful story. It's so nice to find a kind soul in one's time of need.

  38. She definitely found the right cab for sure. Thank you for your kindness and after watching an ambulance show up after 10 minutes in Canada because of socialized medicine, I saw that it can be done.

  39. That was an awesome story. How cool that she emailed you to let you know she was okay...I always wonder what happens to people we pass randomly in life.

  40. You're a wonderful man. I'm always so happy when I come visiting and in general very inspired as you find the most wonderful things to post!

  41. WOW! That was an incredible story. You are both inspiring! The whole concept of your blog is so exciting to me. I can't wait to read more.
    I've only been to NYC once but I loved it. I think one of the things I remember most was the taxi rides. I'm from a small town in Indiana. (tractors down Main Street-no taxis) After 28 years I'm a very metro Florida girl now....NOT. Anyway, my trip to NYC was like Ellie Mae Clampett goes to the city! I kept having to push my mouth closed as my jaw dropped at everything. It was wonderful.

  42. Oops. The above comment was me signed into another account.

  43. AMAZING.

    You're such a wonderful person!

    I hope if I ever go to New York City, I'll just so happen to catch a ride in your cab.....and then hopefully Cash Cab's. Lol.

    Thanks for being a follower of my blog, by the way! And after checking yours out, it's by far one of the best blogs I've ever seen. Seriously.


  44. Cool story. Now get your sorry NY ass over here and drive a taxi in Calcutta. It needs you.

  45. Thats freakin awesome! I wish a few Sydney cabbies were like you :)

  46. I haven't been to NY since I was 12. I'm a little older than that now, but someday hope to return and I really hope that I somehow climb into your cab.

    What an inspiring story.

  47. What a great story! Good for you, dear. We should all be so lucky to get a cab driver like you...

  48. How ... well, what's the word, really? Cancer is a bitch... but glad you were able to help her. I would have freaked driving that cab if I thought I had a bleeder in the rear. I posted today about a death bed signing in the cancer ward too.

    Anyway, checking out your blog for the first time. It pretty much rocks.

  49. Well, this was just an awesome story. Here's to you and your lovely heart.

    (And damn you for making me cry at work.)

  50. What a great experience, for you both. It just reaffirms my belief that most humans truly are decent, caring people. We just need to be brave enough to show it more often.

    Good for you.

  51. King
    I have let you slip below my radar but now I;m back and what a great day for my return. what a great story. In this life we have to help each other or what the heck are we here for??? What a nice guy you are. Thanks for sharing your story my friend. Keep up the good work. Your Momma would be very proud of you.

  52. This is amazing--a side of NYC that I always hope is there but you don't always see.

  53. Thwas an absolutely amazing inbterchange between you two.

    A definitely exceptional woman.

    I was really impressed until given the cancer - and the compromises that make to your immune system with chemo - she lit up the cigarette.

    Hope you are having a good weekend, King.

    Happy Holidays to you :)

  54. What a great story. I love that New Yorkers are blogging, so the world knows that New York is not filled with self involved jerks as people seem to like to think. We are all just like everyone else, extraordinary.

    Have a wonderful Christmas holiday, and good for you for making the world around you just a bit better.

  55. You know, you might just be the heart and soul of NYC. If you're not, you definately should be. You're a wise guy, and a wise man. The more I read, the more I want to stand up and applaud!

    I've got cancer. I'm fighting the best fight I can. And you know what? People are good. People are really, really good. But I think that you already know that.