Life is about choices and the way we are with other people. Even strangers.
Today I left my OA meeting, and called home. Malka Palka Pooka Palka was still up, so I chose to take a cab home, so that I could spend the last bit of her awake time for the day with her.
I hailed a cab, got in and spotted a $20.00 bill on the seat. My first reaction was: "ooooooo! Free cab ride home! Wahoo! Yeah Me!" I slip the $20.00 under my knee and slide over.
Then the "Karma Police" decided to take up residence in my head: "What if this is one of those shows where they video tape you in the car, to see what decision you make?" "What if HE planted that there to test people?" "Why not just give it to him?" "It's the month of Elul, the time to look inward and ask what you have done to make the world a better place." "I can't do anything now, as I've been in this cab for nearly 20 blocks, and I haven't said anything yet, why bother now."
But by about 57th street, my conscience got the better of me. "Um, I found something in the back seat, and I wasn't going to say anything, but I figure it's your cab, so um, here you go." And I handed him the $20.00. His face lit up, and he said, "Oh, she was a nice lady, the woman before you, all dressed up, going somewhere. I just bought some new shoes. This will help pay for them. I have high blood pressure, and my wife said I should do yoga, sitting in the cab all day is bad for me, so the exercise is good, you know?" And I said, "Yes, I know."
And he continued to tell me about his high blood pressure, and how he's walking daily now, and maybe something about a fancy-shmancy pedometer, and choices in life, and distractions that keep us from the right path, and I kept just listening to him. Nodding in the back seat and giving small affirmations to his statements.
When he pulled up to our apartment, he complimented our building, saying it was a nice place to live, I said, yes, it is, thank you, and we're lucky to live here - there's a park just across the street, and our daughter loves it. I pulled out a $20.00, as I had originally intended to do, handed it over, and asked him for $2.00 back.
He asked me if it would be OK if he gave me $10.00 back. And he smiled a big grin.
I smiled back, and said, "Sure, thank you very much. Have a nice evening, my friend." He smiled back and said: "You too, miss, you too."