A couple of weeks ago, I was heading by taxi from a company holiday party in Toronto to a hotel near the airport for an early-morning return flight home. My taxi driver, who looked to be about 40 years old, told me early into our 30-minute ride that he has two young children. Somehow, we got into a conversation about gun control and the differences in violent crimes in Canada versus the United States. I asked him if he had ever had a problem in his cab with someone wanting to do him harm.
This simple question led to an amazing story about a father and two wayward sons.
As my cab driver explained, one night, he picked up two young men in the outskirts of downtown Toronto. As they entered his cab, one of the guys asked him, “So are you looking forward to dying tonight?”
At first, my driver thought the young man was joking. But he quickly realized it was no joke when he saw the gun sticking out of the man’s jacket. My driver was scared. He told the men he didn’t want to die because he was a father of two young children, and they needed a dad. He asked why a couple of good-looking guys like these two would want to do anyone harm. They could have anything they wanted out of life without using violence.
It turned out the young man with the gun had recently gotten out of prison, and he and his friend had been out that night looking to kill someone who owed them money. He wasn’t able to find the guy they wanted to kill, but still wanted to put someone down that night. He began to justify his need for violence, telling the driver he had been abandoned and never knew his father or mother. Worse, a person he had trusted, a priest, had done terrible things to him when he was a young boy. So, he felt he was justified in his desire to kill somebody.
The cabbie took a deep breath and told the young man he couldn’t really understand all he had gone through and how the two men had gotten to this place. But the driver expressed fatherly courage and urged them to choose a better path – to put all the sadness, pain and vengeance behind them.
As the two young men listened, something broke in the young man with the gun. He began to sob as he experienced love from a father who showed compassion and true empathy. The two young men asked the driver to stop the cab so they could get out. They then came around to the cabbie and gave him a big hug, thanking him for showing them they could have a life beyond what they had experienced and didn’t need to be defined by their past.
As the cab driver finished telling me this amazing story, I asked him how he knew what to say. After giving it some thought, he said he considered what he would say to his own children if they had been in the same spot. In short, he felt like he needed to become a father to these two young men in that moment.
As we reached my hotel, and I paid the fare, I thanked the cabbie for not only sharing this amazing story but for being a heroic father to these two young men, as well as to his children at home. It was because of his willingness to show the love of a father to these men that he saved his own life and lived to be a father to his own children.
This story encourages us in two ways. First, as we start the new year, we too can put behind us the sadness, pain and vengeance we may hold onto and turn instead to love those around us. Second, we can express this love by being great fathers to all who come our way.
Blessings to you in the new year!
Dan Dolsen is the founder and director of The Fatherhood Project-Building Great Dads. The Fatherhood Project’s mission is to build great dads by equipping them with the tools to lead their families in the roles of provider, protector, partner and preparer. The Fatherhood Project is a Christian ministry and a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
© 2018 The Fatherhood Project-Building Great Dads. Not to be reproduced or copied without permission of Dan Dolsen. PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE WITH OTHERS! All Bible quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.