Candy Cane Cabbie Rides Again!!!
A Story Of Hope For Those Who Have Lost The Christmas Spirit…
(A Sappy, But True, Story)
I drive cab for City Taxi.
At this time of year, I take on my seasonal mantle, The Candy Cane Cabbie.
Who am I? What is my name?
That doesn’t matter. (And to my friends, please do not tag me here)
But this isn’t about me. It’s about the Christmas Spirit.
And it’s about how I lost that Spirit, how I found it again, and how others might do the same.
Here’s how it began…
Back in 2013, in a conversation with the dispatcher on duty at that time, I explained that I’d be working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
He suggested that I get a Santa Hat and give away candy canes in the cab.
“It’ll be great for tips” he explained.
I thought, “Yeah, it probably would lead to more tips, and bigger ones”.
So off I went to Dollarama in the Southridge Mall.
I bought the hat. I bought several boxes of candy canes.
As I was checking out, the clerk, a young lady of about 16 years, looked miserable.
I asked if she was ready for Christmas. She mumbled something I couldn’t even hear, and looked even sadder.
So I cracked open one of the boxes of candy canes, pulled one out, offered it to her, and said “Have a little Christmas Spirit…..on me.”
Her eyes lit up, and she said “Are you serious?”
“Of course. It’s just a candy cane, Take it, and Merry Christmas”.
Suddenly she was aglow. It was like her whole day had just become MUCH better.
That was when everything changed for me…..
You see, back in 2004, my Mom passed away.
I went through a divorce around the same time.
I have no kids, and that Christmas was a lonely time for me.
I lost The Spirit, and it never did really return.
I took no joy from The Season. Christmas was just another day, only lonelier than most.
I was always welcome at my sister’s for dinner, and a couple friends have always extended the same invitation, but it just wasn’t the same. To me, it never really felt like Christmas…
Back to the day I bought those candy canes….
I walked out of Dollarama with a silly grin, feeling good about having made the clerk’s day a little better.
By the time I got out of that mall, I was into my third box of canes, and had given away over 50 of the silly things.
With each cane, a little joy lit up the faces of those I gave them to, and with each smile, I felt better about myself, and about The Season.
I looked for people who looked unhappy, and a silly piece of candy coming from a stranger seemed to bring a smile to each and every one of them.
Like The Grinch, I felt like my heart “…grew ten sizes….plus two”. LOL
For a kid, Christmas is all about the presents.
But for adults, it should be about giving, about bringing a little happiness to others.
That first Christmas in the cab, I found The Christmas Spirit that I had lost years before.
I found it in the faces of my passengers when I handed them each a candy cane.
I found it in the faces of people in the street when I would pull over, lean out, and hand them a cane, while spouting something silly like “I’m spreading cheer and promoting tooth decay one cane at a time”.
But it’s not limited to my time in the taxi. Anywhere I go, my pockets are stuffed with canes, and I hand them out to anyone and everyone I may meet.
I found The Spirit, alright….
I found it in the faces of shoppers, clerks, people working in stores, people working drive-thrus, people working in restaurants.
I found it in the faces of those poor lost souls “working” on Kathleen St.
I found it downtown on the faces of some of our homeless when I would give them canes.
I found it on the faces of people huddled in the cold outside the Elgin St Mission.
I found it on the faces of police, paramedics, firefighters who didn’t expect to be handed a piece of candy by a total stranger who also thanked them for looking out for us all.
I found it on the faces of snowplow drivers, garbage collectors.
I found the Christmas Spirit in the faces of every person I happened to meet who looked like they weren’t having a good day, and who lit up with a smile when offered a small kindness by an anonymous stranger.
That Christmas, spent in my taxi, was the best Christmas I’ve had in years, and each Christmas since has been equally good, for once again I found The Spirit of Christmas.
I found happiness in bringing a bit of happiness to others.
So, for those of you have have lost The Christmas Spirit, remember, it is to be found in the faces of others….friends or strangers, anyone to whom you can offer a reason to smile, anyone whose day you may be able to improve just by reaching out in kindness.
Put yourself and your feelings aside, and reach out to someone who needs a little cheer, and you just may find that happiness is your reward.
This Christmas, once again I will be in my taxi, happily handing out candy canes to my passengers, but also to anyone I may see out on the street, alone or with friends, walking a dog, shoveling snow, or whatever they may be doing.
This Christmas, once again I shall be promoting tooth decay and spreading cheer one cane at a time.
This Christmas, once again I shall be reveling in The Spirit of Christmas, and finding it in the many faces I am lucky enough to bring a smile to.
Because to me, THAT is what it’s all about.
May all of you find The Christmas Spirit, and the joy of giving that goes along with it.
To all and sundry….Merry Christmas from The Candy Cane Cabbie 🙂
P.S. The dispatcher’s name was Blake Peters, a 40+ year veteran of the taxi industry.
When I told him what giving away those canes had done for me, he just nodded and gave me a knowing smile.
The sly old coot knew all along what his suggestion would do for me.
Blake passed away in the fall of 2014, since which time I have dedicated my Candy Cane Crusade to his memory.
Thanks again for helping me rediscover The Spirit, Blake. We all miss you down here.