It had been a long and tiring day. Carlos had driven for 12 hours without a break. He loved his job, but at that moment he needed to rest. He had been picking up and dropping off passengers all day.
The 48-year-old cab driver wanted to get home early and relax, but a stranger flagged him down. As soon as he saw him, Carlos swerved to the side of the road.
“I need to go to the hospital! My wife is over there about to have our baby,” the man said. “My car tire is flat and I really need to be with her!”.
“Hey, congratulations, and please get in!” said Carlos. He was tired, but his duty came first.
He left the man at the hospital and as he was about to leave he heard the man’s voice:
“Wait, you haven’t collected your fee… How much do I owe you?”.
But Carlos refused.
“It’s okay, my friend! All trips to the hospitals are free!”.
“Are you serious?”.
“Yes! I wouldn’t sleep easy tonight if I charged you. It’s about a person’s life and it’s priceless. So I don’t charge those who make trips to the hospital. Have a good day, and congratulations again!”.
Carlos walked past the man, who was still stunned.
“Ah, I can finally go home,” sighed the tired driver.
As he neared his house, he saw a very upset woman getting out of a cab with a child in her arms.
“What’s going on, why is she yelling at the driver?” he wondered and slowed down near them. He realized that the woman was not screaming, but was pleading with the driver not to leave her there.
“Please don’t leave me here, I need help!” the woman pleaded as the cab driver sped away. “Come on, my son is in a bad way! Please!”.
Carlos was curious and stopped the cab to find out what was going on.
“Excuse me, what happened, why are you crying?” he asked.
But his attention was focused on the little boy in her arms. The child was having difficulty breathing and his arms and legs were shaking uncontrollably. He realized he was convulsing and asked the woman to get into his cab.
“He’s convulsing. Hurry, ma’am! We have to take him to the hospital. Quick, get in!”.
Carlos drove as fast as he could, praying not to get caught in traffic. The hospital was several kilometers away, so he had to hurry to save the boy.
He could not understand why the previous driver had left them during such an emergency. The woman explained that she and her four-year-old son, Tomas, were returning from the park when it started to rain.
“I told the driver that I would pay him once I got home because I didn’t have my purse with me. But then my son suddenly started convulsing, so I asked him to take us to the hospital.”
“He refused. He told me that the hospital was several miles away, and I wouldn’t get the money there to pay him for his ride.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll get to the hospital on time, okay?”
“Do you think we’ll make it? I’m scared for my son,” she said, terrified. But Carlos was determined to save Tomás, so he kept driving.
Half an hour later they arrived at the hospital. Tomás was rushed to the pediatric ward for treatment, while his mother waited in the ward, crying.
Meanwhile, Carlos did everything he could to support the woman. He was hungry and exhausted, but he stayed there until the doctors gave them an update on the boy.
An hour later…
“Mrs. Tamara, your son is out of danger. Luckily, you arrived just in time.”
Tamara immediately looked at Carlos and clasped her hands together, thanking him for saving the boy’s life:
“My son owes you his life…thank you so much!!!”.
Tears welled up in Carlos’ eyes. He was glad that Tomas was out of danger. Later, he dropped them off at home and when Tamara asked him to wait while she looked for the money, he refused.
“I have a policy – NO FEE for those who go to the hospital!” revealed Carlos. “I’m glad we were able to make it in time. I did what any good human being would do. I have two children, so I know well what you were feeling.”
“Have a good night! And please give my regards to Tomás!!!”
Tamara had never witnessed such kindness and could only feel a deep sense of gratitude. Carlos left and continued to be a kind man, and never changed his motto of dropping off passengers at hospitals for free.
He never saw Mrs. Tamara or Tomás again until one day, 18 years later, he had a touching reunion.
Carlos called a cab to go to the hospital. He had had to retire prematurely due to some health problems. He was going to the hospital for some tests. He was waiting outside his house when the vehicle stopped.
“Hello! Wait a second, I’m coming!!!”, Carlos said to the young driver. He got in and asked him to take him to the hospital.
“Okay, sir!!!”, replied the driver and started the vehicle.
They didn’t talk much during the trip. As they were arriving, Carlos checked his wallet and saw that he had no money. He had his card, but he was worried that the driver would not accept it.
“Sorry, I forgot to bring cash. Do you accept cards?” he asked, breaking the silence.
The young driver’s response moved him to tears.
“Sir, you don’t have to pay me – all the trips I make to the hospital are free!”.
Carlos was flabbergasted. “Free rides to the hospital? Why?”.
The driver looked at Carlos in the rearview mirror and smiled.
“Because when I was little, I had really bad seizures, and a kind cab driver took me to the hospital for free and saved my life.”
“My mother told me that the driver never charged for rides to the hospital. His kindness inspired me, so I decided to follow his example.”
Carlos’ heart felt lighter and happier.
“What’s your name?” he asked, and shuddered when the driver said, “My name is Tomás.”
Carlos spoke no more. He looked out the window, shedding tears of joy the rest of the way.