A Toronto story

I think this posting speaks for itself. It is used by permission of the author.
From twist@centtel.com Thu Dec  4 10:34:30 EST 1997
Article: 4162 of tor.news
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From: Angel Mehta 
Newsgroups: tor.news
Subject: A true story about Toronto the good
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 13:17:57 -0500
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This is the true story of something that happened to a University of
Toronto student on Friday, Nov. 21, 1997.  The author wanted the details
of this day told to as many people as possible, because she was never
able to thank the participants.  Please read this story and pass it on
to whomever will listen.

Author:  Devika Shah, University of Toronto

A few days ago, I was on my way to the Bay.St. Greyhound station to take
the 2:00 pm bus to Kitchener-Waterloo to visit some friends for the
weekend. I was fairly late when I arrived at the St.Patrick station, and
was carrying heavy bags, so I decided to call a cab to get there even
though it was only a 5-10 min. walk. A cab pulled over, and the driver
told me it would be a $2.00 fare. So I got in the cab, and when we
arrived at the bus station, I frantically searched through my purse for
a toonie. In order to get to the bottom of my purse, I had to first pull
out $50.00 worth of bills, and I must have accidentally left the bills
right there in the cab as I gave him the toonie and rushed out of the
cab! It wasn't until I was standing in line to buy my ticket that I
discovered that the $50.00 from my purse was missing. I ran back to the
place where the cab had dropped me off, and of course he had left

I looked all over, and finally told another cab driver who happened to
be waiting there what had just happened. At this point, I was close to
tears, and I kept thinking of how I would explain to my parents that I
lost all of my money as a result of my carelessness, and how I would
tell my friends that I could no longer visit them. The cab driver whom I
had just told my story  to - a friendly Caribbean man, appeared very
concerned and wanted to help.

When I finally returned to my senses, I thanked him for his concern, and
told him that there was nothing that he or I could do - the money was
gone.  He asked me what I was going to do, and I said that I had no
choice but to take the TTC home and call my friends and let them know
that I couldn't come.  As I walked back to the waiting area in the
station to look for a payphone, he (the cab driver) followed me inside,
and asked me how much the ticket would have costed me. I told him
$25.00. What happened next totally surprised me! He said, "OK, I'm going
to help you. We will just go around and ask people to help you out." Of
course, I protested, and kept telling him not to worry and not to ask
these stangers to donate money when it really wasn't a life and death
situation. He then replied, "Don't worry! And don't be embarassed.
People will help, you watch. People will help!" At that point, he said
to everyone in the lounge, "Excuse me everyone! This young lady just
lost $50.00 in a cab, and she needs $25.00 to go to Waterloo. I am just
another cab driver who happened to be standing there, and I have $15.00
here to give her. Would anybody be able to help to give her enough money
to buy a ticket, and maybe a little extra for the weekend?" By now, I
was shocked, embarassed, and touched by his kindness. I knew that it
looked like a scam, and I heard someone smirk from behind me.

I still kept telling him that it was OK, and not to worry. But then, to
my even greater surprise, several people in the waiting area began
pulling out $5.00 bills from their wallets and handing it to the man!
When we had $25.00, I told them that this was all I needed, and they
still kept giving me money so that I would be able to eat over the
weekend! In total, we collected $40.00.  Someone told the cab driver
that he is a good man, and he handed the money to me. I was profusely
thanking everyone, and I barely got to properly thank the cab driver
before he shouted, "You have a good trip," and he dashed out of the
door. I was still a little embarassed by the whole situation, but mostly
I was touched, and worried that I would miss the bus after all of these
good people had given me the money to buy the ticket, so I said one last
thank you, and ran off to buy the ticket.

On the bus to Waterloo, I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my
face. I couldn't believe that people in the middle of a big city like
Toronto could be so kind. But mostly, I was crying because I couldn't
believe that this man was so caring and generous that he cared enough to
give a complete stranger $15.00, (on a cab driver's salary), and that he
was willing to stand up in front of all of those people and ask for
money on my behalf. I realized that perhaps I wouldn't have felt so
guilty about taking the money if I had a heart as big as his. He has
inspired me to live my life as he does - performing random acts of
kindness whenever I am capable of doing so.

To the first cab driver with the $50.00 I left in your car, or the
person who found $50.00 in a cab: please make use of the money where it
is needed.  If you really need it, then use it. If not, then please give
it to someone who does, or to a good charity.

To the people in the waiting area who donated the money: thank you so
much for your generosity. It is refreshing to see that good people like
you still do exist.

And to the cab driver who cared, (I'm sorry, I do not know your name or
cab number): thank you a thousand times. Not only did you give a total
stranger $15.00, and raise another $25.00 on her behalf, but you have
inspired me, and hopefully many others who witnessed, heard, or read
about this story to live a life of warmth, generosity, and love. By
helping me in the way that you did, you have created a ripple effect, so
that your act of kindness will trigger many other acts of kindness by
those who were touched by your example. Thank you!!

Devika Shah
University of Toronto student 
e-mail:  devika.shah@utoronto.ca

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