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Cage-fighting, cancer and providing comfort to the sick

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

‘Not really into the GAA much myself now’ he said.

For years, I prided myself on getting taxi drivers to chat about something that mattered to them. GAA often did the trick.

‘Oh really, what sports are you into yourself?’

'‘Cage fighting’

I felt momentarily panicked. He was a big and obviously very strong young man. It was 5 am in the morning, before taxi apps automatically tracked trips, and before Conor McGregor had made MMA into a mainstream sport.

I gave up on asking questions. Something, however, triggered him into telling me about the prayer card he had on the dashboard. An elderly sister had given it to him when she was in his taxi the previous week.

A few days later he had received a call from a hotel on the quays. There was a woman who had been up in James’ s for an appointment. She had been told she had cancer and that it was untreatable. She was in her forties, and on her own.

When he arrived to pick up the fare, the receptionist at the hotel filled him in briefly and said she was in the bar, waiting, and in a bad way. He walked in not knowing what to say to her. He was surprised to find himself saying stuff that seemed to help. When she got to the taxi, she spotted the card and seemed to find some real comfort from the message on it.

He finished the trip by saying he had never felt as good in his life as he did about what he had done that day.

I finished the trip with a sense of being privileged to hear such a story, and a sense of humility at the reminder to never judge a book by the cover, or for that matter, a person, by sport they might happen to be into

This was one of a series of reflections on theme of ‘Re- thinking God’ featured on RTE Radio 1 Living Word slot in Dec 3rd 2020.

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