Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (1)

What Are The Odds?

My regular readers know that I’m a very conscientious person, and that although I try my best to prepare in advance for all manner of SNAFUs, I still fall victim to the occasional malfunction or “blonde moment.”

My most recent episode occurred en route to interviewing Governor Huckabee. I was really looking forward to our interview and was quite determined not to have anything go wrong. I packed my briefcase the night before the meeting, and made sure that my digital voice recorder was working, had batteries, etc. and that I had a pad of paper and a pen in case of emergency.

I carefully gathered all my things together and hopped in a cab (a black jeep with a yellow taxi sign on top) to the interview destination – a hotel lobby near the Newseum. I was re-reading my interview questions when I reached into my briefcase to get out my wallet to pay the driver. My heart sank. I had forgotten my wallet! My car-less husband (the first person I hit up for cash) was at a doctor’s appointment across town. I had no friends meeting me at the hotel lobby (and I certainly wasn’t going to ask Gov. Huckabee if he could lend me $20). I explained the situation to the driver and sheepishly asked if he had a card or if I could arrange to meet him later on in the day once I had my wallet.

The driver saw how sincerely sorry I was – and told me that he had no cards, and that I should just consider the ride complimentary. I promised him that I wasn’t in the habit of stiffing taxi drivers, and that I really did want to pay him back. He would have none of it. “It’s not a problem, ma’am. Don’t worry about it.” So off I went to meet Gov Huckabee – and I only dropped my Blackberry once in front of him.

Flash forward 4 days… I’m returning home from The Big Sleep Show (it was in Chicago) and waiting in the taxi line at the Reagan National Airport. This time I have hubby with me (he’s always good for a $20) so I figure the cab ride home will be smooth (though I’ve had some bad experiences with DC cabs in the past). As I get to the front of the line, I look over at the cab that we’re about to get into. It’s a black jeep with a yellow taxi sign on top.

I ask the driver if he remembers a woman who didn’t pay him for an early morning cab ride a few days prior. “Oh, yeah.” He said. “You mean the doctor lady?”

“That was ME!” I exclaimed. “I didn’t know how I was going to repay you for your kindness. And now I can do it in person! This is quite a coincidence.”

The driver smiled and was quiet the whole ride home.

I paid him for both rides plus a nice tip. “Keep paying it forward, brother.” I said, “you never know when it will come back to you.”

What are the odds?This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

You may also like these posts

Read comments »

One Response to “What Are The Odds?”

  1. CRHD says:

    Terrific story. Makes you wonder how many things in life actually happen by chance.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »