Mike the Cabbie

by The Sister E. Izawa
Oregon, USA

I know very little about Mike the cabbie, really. I know he has his own family with grown kids, and that his wife also works for the cab company. In my city, we typically do not “hail” cabs on the street, but instead call ahead and arrange for pickup. This is where Mike comes in.

There are a lot of people out there who look for disadvantaged individuals like my brother, “Jack”, to manipulate, to cheat, and steal from. We’ve met several, but we’ve also met a few gems — like Mike.

My brother has a form of drug-resistant epilepsy that leaves him unable to drive, coupled with a brain injury sustained 15 years ago that left him with no short-term memory. Independence is a key to maintaining a positive self-esteem, so while I would gladly drive him around, having to rely on your sister isn’t exactly being “independent”.

Thus, Jack came to an agreement with one of our local cab companies to have one particular driver take him wherever he needs to go, whether to simply run errands or drive three hours roundtrip to visit our mother.

mike-the-cabbie Mike’s wife was on the cab company’s side of the initial arrangements, and felt her husband would be best suited for the job. She was so right.

Mike started driving my brother late in 2002. He is quiet, unassuming, and someone who “won’t take no guff”. He’s got short gray hair, a neatly trimmed moustache, a ready smile, and a heart of gold. He’s very quiet; I don’t know what, if anything, he and my brother talk about when they’re together — but I do know they have incorporated little things to help my brother on a daily basis.

Jack once forgot to retrieve his ATM card and money from a bank ATM (some kind soul turned it all in to the bank), so now every time he withdraws money and returns to the cab, they check that he has both card *and* cash safely stowed. Every time.

Mike understood to make it a ritual of caring, not nagging. Jack grins when he tells me about this.

More importantly, the few times a year Jack has to go to the hospital emergency room for epilepsy-related injuries, Mike and I communicate. I call immediate family (Mom, Dad, my husband), AND I call Mike. Or vice versa, if Mike took Jack to the hospital.

The most recent time this happened, in July of 2005, Mike called me at home that evening to check on Jack — he didn’t want to call my brother’s house in case he was resting. Mike and his wife had been sick with concern for my brother’s well being.

Mike doesn’t have to do this, but that’s just the kind of guy he is. We’re lucky to have him in our lives.

Originally published as HeroicStories #635 on October 5, 2005

 

13 thoughts on “Mike the Cabbie”

  1. What a touching story. We all need a Mike around to help. Jack and his family has been sent an angel in Mike to help and care about the well being of Jack and allowing him to keep his independence. GOD bless you Mike.

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  2. I agree, that’s a wonderful story, and that Mike steps in without nagging, and gives her brother the space and independence he needs shows a very kind and patient man!

    Thank you for sharing this story!

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  3. We all need a “Mike” in our lives! What a great blessing he is to Jack and his sister! The peace of mind to Jack’s sister with having Mike in his corner is immeasurable!

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  4. hello everyone: Yes; praise the Lord for the sister initiating a way and not being ashamed of her brother but she reached out and the call was answered by a good Samaritan like Jack and his wife. Keep those stories going as it encourages me to know that there are people out there that truly care. What a blessing. Danielle

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  5. Simple, kind decency!! That’s what makes Mike HEROIC.

    This story brightened my day, thank you for sharing, and thank you to Mike for being a good man.

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  6. Your stories are such an enjoyable read! This particular story draws attention to the travails of individuals with special needs. My older brother, now nearly 59 years old, has similar special needs. We can attest to the stress-relief that comes with caring, helpful individuals like Mike. And beyond stress-relief, we find ourselves in a grateful mood, counting our blessings–blessings that come in the form of people just doing what they can to help make this world a better place for all. These “angels” are a reminder that we must all strive to do what we can to lessen the suffering and hard-ships of others. Thank you for your uplifting stories <3

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  7. What great skills Mike has and uses to benefit others.

    Several years ago I had a hobby of asking people why they chose the line of work they were in. I was surprised at how few talked about making money and how many saw their work as a way to help others. In my mind, Mike is definitely one of the latter.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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  8. Angels, sometimes in disguise as taxi drivers, are found in many parts of the world (I’m expanding my personal experience from the US to world wide, knowing it must be true. While I don’t know Mike the cabbie in Oregon, I did meet Ray, a cabbie in Corpus Christi,TX, over the summer. He had driven me to the location of an interview in the morning and was waiting for me to call him for a return to the hotel. (He even asked the dispatcher if I had called in yet when she called him to another fare!) As we headed back to the hotel, he told me of another one of his morning fares – a regular passenger of his that on this day didn’t have any smaller bills (smallest was a $20), and he didn’t have any change. He helped her take her groceries to the doorway and left, in essence giving her a free ride home (total fare was less than $5.00). He shrugged it off as if it was no big deal. Then, when I was a bit short of the fare, he waived it off as well. The next day, since I had requested him as my cabbie to the airport, I made sure I made up for my own shortage – and his other fare as well (because I could and, although I’m sure not having one fare wouldn’t have hurt him, the extra I gave him could let him “pay it forward” again if he needed.

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  9. Just a follow-up to this story: Mike has retired, but he still goes to my brother’s every Tuesday so they can spend the day running errands, taking the dog to the dog park, and just “setting things right”. When the story was first published I printed it out and gave it to him, and heard later that his wife cried when she read it, and his children were shocked this story was about their dad. Never a braggart, they had no idea how appreciated he is by his many clients (I recall he used to have a few older clients he would assist on a weekly basis, as well).

    Everyone is still doing very well, and we are all still incredibly thankful for everything we have.

    …and thanks for getting HS going again. I missed it!!

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    • It is especially wonderful to have this update on Mike. To know that he continues his friendship with your brother is so beautiful. I know how difficult it is for those who have lost short-term memory, and for those who care for/deal with them. It takes a great deal of patience. It appears that Mike–and you–express that loving patience to your brother. May you be richly blessed as you continue to do so.

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  10. The update could be a Heroic Story, too. Thank you so much for sharing Mike the Cabbie and the update. Obviously Mike and Jack have formed a connection which is wonderful.

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