“Peace”-Or, How Slowing Down is the Key to Happiness


Bird of paradise
Bird of paradise

I found this article on the internet and thought that it was worth sharing. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

I am a taxi driver who makes a living in New York. One day, I received a call from a strange passenger.

This experience left a deep impression on me. So I shared this story anonymously on the Internet:

I got a call asking me to go to an address to pick up passengers. After arriving, I honked the horn, but no one came out.

I called, but no one picked up, and I started to become a little impatient. This was my last stop of the afternoon before I went on break.

I almost gave up and left, but in the end, after thinking about it, I stayed. I decided to wait a while, before getting out of the car and ringing the doorbell.

I heard an old, feeble voice say: “Wait a minute!” I waited at the door for a while before it slowly opened. A petite old lady stood in the doorway. I think that she was at least 90 years old. She had a small suitcase in her hand.

I glanced inside the apartment and was surprised by what I saw.

It almost looked like no one lived there. All the furniture was covered with dust cloths. The four walls were bare. There were no clocks, no decorations, not even a photo or a painting. I only saw a box piled in the corner, filled with old photos and souvenirs.

“Young man, can I trouble you to help me get my suitcase into the car?” said the old lady.

After I put her luggage in the trunk, I came back and took her arm so that I could help her walk downstairs to my car. She thanked me for my help.

“I believe that I should treat passengers like I treat my own mother,” I said.

The old lady laughed. “Oh, you’re really nice,” she said.

She got into the car, gave me an address, and asked me not to take the route downtown.

“But that is my only shortcut. We’ll have to keep detouring,” I told her.

“It’s ok, I’m not in a hurry,” she replied. “I’m going to a nursing home.”

Her words surprised me a little.

“Isn’t a nursing home a place where old people wait to die?” I thought to myself.

“I don’t have any relatives,” the old lady went on. “The doctor said I don’t have much time left.”

At that moment, I decided to turn off the odometer.

“So where would you like me to go?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we traveled around the outskirts of the city. In the car, she pointed out to me a restaurant where she once worked as a hostess. There was the house where she and her husband lived in their early years, and a ballroom she used to dance at when she was younger.

When we drove through certain streets, she asked me to drive more slowly while she stared silently and curiously out the window.

We circled around for almost the whole afternoon and evening until the old lady finally said: “I’m tired. Let’s go to our destination.”

We didn’t say a word on our way to the nursing home. The place was smaller than I had thought. When I parked, two nurses came out to greet us. They brought a wheelchair for the old lady, and I carried her luggage.

“So how much was this ride in total?” the old lady asked while rummaging through her handbag.

“It was free,” I replied.

“But you also have to support your family,” the old lady protested.

“There will be other passengers,” I told her with a smile. I then gave her a goodbye hug without a second thought.

She hugged me back tightly and said with tear-filled eyes: “You made the life of an old woman who has almost reached her last few steps very happy. Thank you.”

I shook hands with her and said goodbye.

On my way back, I found myself driving aimlessly through the city center. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t even have enough energy to pick up passengers. I kept on thinking, what if I hadn’t waited for her?

If I had just driven away, what would she have done?

Now when I think back on that day, I still believe that I made the correct decision.

Our lives always seem to be so busy. There are always more important things that we need to do. However, this old lady made me realize that “quiet, meaningful moments” are also valuable. It also made me feel sad that one’s last journey in life could be full of loneliness and disappointment. If I had not taken the time to make her happy, this was all that she would have gotten.

We all have to take some time off to enjoy our lives. We should not honk the horn in haste, but be more patient. Then, maybe we’ll be able to see what really matters.

“True happiness does not come from comfort, wealth, or the admiration of others,” but from when we do something meaningful.

The original Chinese article is posted on https://cofacts.tw/article/30hfg5okn0oj5.

宁静……
一名在纽约谋生的计程车司机,某日就接到一通奇怪的乘客叫车。
这经验让他印象深刻、感慨许久,于是在网路上匿名分享这个故事:
当我接到电话,要前往一个地址载客。
到达后,我按了按喇叭,但没有人出来。
我打了电话,电话没通,我开始有点不耐烦。
这是我下午准备接的最后一单,很快就要到休息时间了。
我几乎已经放弃、准备直接开走。
但最后想了想,还是留了下来。
我等了会,下车按了门铃。
然后听到一个苍老虚弱的声音说:『请等一下! 』
我在门口等了一阵,
大门才慢慢打开。
一个娇小的老太太站在门里,我猜她至少90岁了。
她手上拿着一个小行李箱。
我向内瞄了一眼,
惊讶地发现公寓内的景象。
那里看起来简直像没人居住,所有家具都盖上了布,四面墙光秃秃的,没有时钟、没有装饰、没有照片或画,什么都没有。
我只看到角落堆了一个箱子,里面都是老照片和纪念品。
「年轻人,可以麻烦你帮我把行李箱拿上车吗?」
老太太说。

我将行李放进后车厢后,然后回来扶着她的手臂,带她慢慢下楼走向车子。
她感谢我的帮忙。
「应该的」我说
「我对乘客都像对我自己的妈妈一样」,
老太太笑了,
「噢,你真的很好」她说。
她坐进车内,给了我一张地址,
并要求我不要走市中心的路。
「但那样就无法走捷径了,我们会一直绕道」我向她说。
「没关系,我不赶时间」
她回答
「我要去的是安宁疗养院」。
她的话让我有些吃惊。
「安宁疗养院不就是
老人等死的地方吗? 」
我心里想。
「我没什么亲人,」
老太太继续说
「医生说我剩下的时间不多了。」
那一瞬间,我决定关上里程表。
「所以我应该怎么走?」我问道。
结果,接下来的两个小时,我们都在城市近郊穿梭。
在车上,她指给我看她曾做过柜台的饭店。
我们经过许多不同的地方,她和丈夫早年住过的房子,还有一个她年轻时曾去的舞厅。
经过某些街道时,
她也会请我开慢点,
好奇地从窗户内张望,什么话都没有说。
我们几乎绕了整个下午和傍晚,直到老太太终于说:
「我累了,我们前往目的地吧」。
在开往疗养院的路上,我们一句话都没有说。
安宁疗养院比我想像的还小。
抵达后,有两名护士出来迎接我们。
她们拿来一张轮椅,
我则搬着老太太的行李。
「所以这趟车总共多少钱?」
她一边问,一边翻找着手提包。
「不用钱!」我回答。
「但你也要养家。」老太太说。
「还会有其他乘客的。」
我笑着对她说。
我几乎来不及思考,
就给了她一个拥抱。
她紧紧抱住我,她红着眼眶说道。
「你让一个人生
几乎走到最后几步路的老人,感到十分幸福,谢谢你」
我和她握了手道别。
回程路上,我发现自己在市中心漫无目的地游荡。
我不想和任何人说话、也提不起载客的精神。
我一直思考,如果当初我没等到她?
如果那时我找不到人,就直接开走了,
她该怎么办呢?
现在当我回想起那一天,我仍然相信
我做了重要且正确的决定。
我们的生活中,总是不停地被忙碌轰炸。
我们得做更「重要」的事,更快、更有效率。
但这位老太太,
让我真正体认到了
那安静、有意义的片刻。
同时也让我感伤,
人生最后旅程的
那种孤独和怅然。
我们都必须
花时间与自己相处,
享受我们的人生。
我们都应该在急忙按喇叭前,更有耐心地等待。
然后,或许我们才会看到,真正重要的事情。
真正的快乐不是来自于舒适、财富或别人的赞赏,而是【做了有意义的事】

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