Photo by Viktor Bystrov

Faith & Inspiration

By Charles Towne

A few years ago I flew to Wisconsin for my father’s funeral. After a few days I returned to Orlando, and when my plane landed at Orlando International Airport I caught a cab from the airport to my home. The driver, we will call him Rick, was a heck of a nice guy and, as we had some time we started talking. Curious, I asked him what was the largest tip he had ever received from a fare, and he told me the following story…

He picked up a fare at the airport from a man who told Rick that he was looking for a ride from Florida to Los Angeles, California. As you probably already figured out, that is a very long drive!

Well, understanding that Rick was a free spirit at the time, as well as footloose and fancy free, he said yes to the job.

Additionally, the man had told Rick that he would pay his driver a thousand dollars per week, with a guaranteed minimum of four weeks traveling time, plus all expenses paid.

Rick ended up driving the man across the country on, what to Rick, was nothing less than a dream vacation.

Rick and his passenger rafted the Grand Canyon, and they paid their respects to the presidents in North Dakota’s Black Hills. Plus Rick, at his passenger’s expense, saw each and every other grand sight along the way that one could imagine.

Five weeks later, the travelers arrived in the city of angels where their trip ended.

Yes, a dream vacation came to an end, and Rick headed back across the country, alone.

And now for the rest of the story:

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Rick’s passenger told him the following story, and the reason for their trip.

In New York, he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was dying, and had only weeks to live. As he had no family, he decided to see the country on his own.

He indeed paid Rick his regular fare, plus five thousand dollars as agreed, and with another five thousand dollar tip!

Imagine how that one passenger changed Rick’s life. And how Rick’s “Yes!” brought joy to that one man.

What impact does your life have on those you meet?

Dear Papa God, how that one chance encounter impacted Rick’s life! Perhaps if Rick had been like so many today – unfriendly, aloof, cold – his story could not have ended to his good fortune. Lord, help each of us to be genuinely interested in others, not because of what good fortune might come our way, but because we are loving Christians, and we really, genuinely care. Thank you Father, in Jesus’ wonderful name we ask it, Amen

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. UUUAAAOOO !!! I’m frozen … Paralyzed … What an Incredible Story, Ride and Experience !!! I guarantee You that if happens to me, I spend, NO, INVEST in my Rider part of the tip and my profits to give Him more pleasure during his last days … Let’s Pray for those people who fight now and have some few time remaining here. Amen …

  2. Awwwww….such a nice story!!
    You never know what kind of an impact you will have on someone’s life. Remember to bring happiness whenever you can. God may be using you to be someone’s angel…
    and He will reward you!
    God bless you, Chuck!

  3. A bittersweet story of a dying man’s final bucket list. Without a family or friends, he enlists the help of a stranger. I wonder what your taxi driver did with that $.

  4. Ernest J Bursey, Yes, my friend, so many questions are left unanswered, we wonder how the lives of the two men were finalized don’t we? What was the rest of their stories? And, what would we have done with such an opportunity? Would our lives have gone on as before? Or…what? Yes, so many questions, Chaz

  5. Very heartwarming story – living life to the very end. Never miss an opportunity to say hello to a stranger as that may be the best thing the experience that day. We have a limited number of days on this earth – don’t waste any.

  6. What a great story, however a sad ending. I never get tired of your stories! You should write a book with all your nature, and life stories. I would be the first to buy a copy.

  7. Charles, what an experience!!! This is wonderful, so filled with adventure and expectation. I see two aspects in this; the passenger was guided to Rick and Rick was ready in heart to meet the task., All Glory to God!!!
    Charles you Prayed, ” Lord, help each of us to be genuinely interested in others, not because of what good fortune might come our way, but because we are loving Christians, and we really, genuinely care.” I could not Pray it better, Amen. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely story. Jimmie and Mignon

  8. Jimmie and Mignon, O my dear friends, let us live our lives joyfully, always looking for what is before us and forgetting what is behind. Help us always to see opportunity to share and experience Papa God’s great love and joy” To God be all the glory my dear friends. With Christian love, Chaz


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