I read this story online many years ago and think it worth sharing and repeating forever, so…..
A NYC Taxi driver wrote:
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
One of my basic principles of being an Honorable Skeptic is what I call the malleability of my opinions, as expressed this way:
Because I am honorable, I sometimes willingly concede points made by my opponents in debates with them. This should never be seen as a sign of weakness. When I know I am right about something, I will fight to the bitter end to support my case and discredit my opponent because in some cases I do see my battles as a struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, or ignorance and knowledge. But I am also willing at times to listen to my opponent and consider his point of view, especially if that person is known by me to be honorable. If we do not listen to others, how can we ever grow in knowledge?
In the past, I opposed the legal concept of statutory rape, thinking it an outdated and irrational one, much like laws in the past banning homosexual relations or interracial unions. But recent events have made me reconsider my position and try to understand why otherwise enlightened people would be so insistent that teens should never be allowed to have romantic and sexual relations with older partners, even of their own choosing.
I remember watching this many times as a child along with the Saturday morning cartoons. It never occurred to me that what I was seeing was white supremacist propaganda. But some on YouTube have pointed that out!
In a blog entry from over a decade ago, I directly assaulted the credibility of the Guardianship of Shoghi Effendi, who led the Baha’i Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957. To this day, I consider The Fatal Flaw of Baha’i Authority to be my one of my greatest works and the ultimate refutation of the Baha’i Faith as led by the leadership based in Haifa, Israel.
I have also debunked the credibility of Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, the very document that Shoghi Effendi based his authority on.
It is shocking enough that the so-called Guardian did not uphold the Covenant at the time of his death. But what if I told you that he also broke it while he was alive?
When he was Guardian, Shoghi Effendi would often expel dissident Baha’is from the community, including nearly ALL his closest relatives. But a reading of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha reveals that he should NOT have had that power and he was abusing his position as Guardian!
After declaring the absolute authority of the Guardian, Abdu’l-Baha says this:
My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise accept any excuse from him.
So the Hands of the Cause of God are expected to expel those disloyal to the Guardian, not the Guardian himself. Meanwhile….
Should any of the members [of the Universal House of Justice] commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the Guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him, whereupon the people must elect another one in his stead.
So the only expulsion the Guardian is empowered to do is to remove members of the UHJ from that body, and not necessarily from the Baha’i community completely. So how did Shoghi Effendi gain the same power to expel Baha’is completely as the Hands of the Cause of God? By merely asserting he had that power already! But if he did, then the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha really should have read:
My object is to show that the Guardian of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as he finds anyone beginning to oppose and protest against him, cast the Covenant breaker out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise accept any excuse from him.
The Constitution of the United States of America grants Congress, not the President, the power to declare war, but it also grants the President the rank of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. But the last time Congress did declare war was in December 1941, right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Yet the USA has fought wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq without a Congressional declaration of war, because of the President taking advantage of his position of Commander-in-Chief. This is straight up TYRANNY the American people should NEVER have tolerated!
Likewise, Baha’is the world over blindly assumed that Shoghi Effendi had the right to expel people from the Baha’i community. He didn’t even start to appoint living Hands of the Cause of God until 1951, thirty years after he began his Guardianship and he NEVER served as a member of the UHJ! Why not? Was his megalomania so problematic that he was never willing to share power with anyone in his early days as Guardian?
Then he never should have been Guardian to begin with.
Imagine you are a famous horror novelist, like Stephen King, with millions of fans around the world. You decide to write a historical fiction novel set during World War II and focusing on the Holocaust. You write the story about a concentration camp as accurately as possible, depicting the atrocities committed there in graphic detail and the Nazis involved as cruel and powerful, while their Jewish victims are shown to be helpless, the story only ending with the liberation of the camp by Allied forces. At no point do you endorse anything about Nazism, nor do you attack the Jewish community. And yet, after the novel is published, you are accused of being pro-Nazi, anti-Semetic, racist, and white supremacist, and you get tons of hate mail and even some death threats, causing you to go into hiding and consider quitting writing altogether. This despite you having made statements damning the Nazis and supporting Zionism in the past; the novel is considered proof of your true nature by people who are your sworn enemies.
This is similar to the situation I am facing right now. Let me provide some background.
In 2017, Roy Moore, a right-wing religious extremist and former judge, ran for a place in the U S Senate, but lost to Democrat Doug Jones. During his campaign, it was revealed that he had violated the bodily autonomy of several young girls when he was decades younger, disturbing the people of Alabama enough to make them reject him. This was at a time when the #metoo movement, asserting the right of women to no longer tolerate sexual harassment from men, was a major social force. I decided to support this movement by discussing it on my blog.
Thus on December 18, 2017, I wrote and published a blog entry titled, “Why I am far better than Roy Moore”. I described an actual incident I had with a young girl and how, even when given a chance to molest her, I chose NOT to do that and let her go because I respected her body and mind enough to do so. Far from being an endorsement of child sexual abuse and pedophilia, it was a total condemnation of those things and a warning to adults about how to treat younger people.
Because the girl I was with seemed to be giving me romantic signals, I mistakenly thought she had a crush on me and so I thought I needed to address that issue directly with her. But instead, she clearly explained that she only saw me as a friend and was not in love with me. The moment she made that clear, I dropped the subject and moved on. My error was thinking her overly affectionate nature was something more. That’s it. I made NO attempt to seduce the girl, tell her she HAD to have sex with me at any point, or anything so disgusting. That simply didn’t happen!
Last year, I had a dramatic falling out with Wahid Azal, who like me was an activist against the Baha’i Faith. But unlike me, he was the leader of his own “Bayani” cult based on the teachings of the Bab mixed with Marxism (which is atheist, a fundamental contradiction since Azal was also supposed to believe in the same God as the Bab he supposedly followed). I refused to endorse his cult and when he was expelled from the ExBahai subreddit for disruptive conduct, I sided with the moderators of it against Azal. That turned him against me and over the next several months, he proceeded to accuse me of being racist, a white nationalist, a pro-Baha’i operative in league with the Baha’i leadership in Haifa (he also accused the ExBahai subreddit moderators of that), and even of being gay and also lusting after Azal’s wife before she died (hardly what a gay man would do, eh?). Of course, he could make none of those claims stick because there was no real evidence for any of them and I had made my rejection of racism and other forms of bigotry all too clear on my blog, and everywhere else for that matter. So what else is there to do when you are desperate to smear me?
By this time, I had long forgotten about the blog entry I had written about Roy Moore and the little girl I’d been with and had moved on to many other things in my life. But Wahid Azal found that blog entry and he and his cult followers began to spread links to it in various places, and he also made a video attacking me titled (I kid you not) “Dale Husband confesses to being a Paedophile”.
Needless to say, that is an outright lie, just like all the other lies that bastard has told about me. The only thing I ever confessed to on the blog entry in question was facing a difficult situation with a child and treating that child like an independent person rather than a sex object. A pedophile is a person attracted sexually only to children and aggressively seeking them out for sexual purposes, disregarding their own feelings and needs. Not only do I condemn such a thing, I actually believe convicted child molesters deserve the DEATH PENALTY! Indeed, I even condemned Moses, God’s supreme lawgiver, for endorsing child sexual abuse and genocide, as depicted here:
After learning what Azal had done, I asked a friend of mine, the same one I consulted in making the controversial blog entry, what I should do. She said, “Unfortunately in my experience very little weight is put into someone’s intention, only in other’s perception. I would probably take it down if I were you, but there’s no action that will immediately make this problem go away for you. Good luck, friend. Things like this are never easy.” So I removed the blog entry from public viewing.
So this is how utterly low Azal has sunk and now I am going to have to be a lot more aggressive in dealing with him and his lies on YouTube as well as on reddit. Any chance of him and me reconciling in the future is gone forever.
Fortunately, it seems that some progress in getting rid of him has already been made.
A few months ago, I was contacted via Facebook by Hamid Farnagh and he requested I provide material for his magazine, which is dedicated to criticizing the Baha’i Faith. I complied and soon portions of my writings appeared there, along with a description of me.
I then requested he send me an English translation of what was written so I could be sure my writings had been properly represented. He promised me he would do so, but his efforts were delayed by his contracting the coronavirus, which he survived. Once he got well, he kept his word to me and I got the translation in email, which I then downloaded and read. Now I will share that text with my readers.
After receiving several harassing phone calls today from someone trying to get me to pay money for a package to be delivered to me that I didn’t even order, I have finally had ENOUGH of a dating site known as Mingle2!
I made an account there about eight years ago. Here are screenshots of my profile there:
The very first message I got on the site was an introduction to it.
Welcome to Mingle2 – Please read!
PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE MESSAGE. IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Mingle2.com is a free dating site. You can contact as many people as you like for free!
Our goal is to help you find relationships that matter in your life. Every day we work hard to make this happen.
To make the most of your experience here, please follow these simple guidelines.
Be safe. Everything you need to contact people is available on the site. Be suspicious of people that message you and want to talk to you offsite via phone, email or IM in their first contact with you. These people are sometimes scammers who try to convince you to give them money. As a rule, NEVER give anyone you meet on the site money.
Have fun. Start by uploading a good photo of yourself. People who upload a photo get 10X the activity of people without photos.
Invest a little time in your profile. This is your first impression, make it count.
Invite your friends. Dating doesn’t have to be lonely. Invite your friends and make it more fun. Get their advice or check out their friends.
Spend some time in the forums. It’s a great place to meet other people.
Use features like BLOCK USER on people you don’t like. It’s simple and effective
Just have fun. Everyone here is here for the same reason, so just be yourself and have a good time, the rest comes naturally.
INBOX MESSAGING & INSTANT MESSAGING RULES
If you are lewd, rude or crude in email messages to others, this can get you banned permanently. We store complaints and our system will ban you if you accrue too many complaints.
Do not send people unsolicited “sexual” messages or else you will get banned when they report you.
Do not spam or solicit funds from other users (duh!). You will be reported and banned.
Do people obey the rules of this site? Apparently not! I have made contact with a wide variety of women over the years, and it seems EVERY SINGLE ONE was a scammer! In most cases, women who were supposed to be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area would turn out to be in another state, like California, or even an African country! They and I would communicate for several weeks or months and inevitably, if they didn’t lose interest in me, they would demand I send them money or gift cards. After what happened to me in 2018, I would tolerate that crap no more! EIGHT YEARS IS LONG ENOUGH TO BE MADE OF FOOL OF!
A message from four years ago:
For your safety – Please read!
Because we are a free dating site, anyone can sign up – including scammers and other undesirable people. Since our inception, we’ve made user safety a top priority and we’ve built many systems to combat such undesirables. It mostly works and we are making improvements everyday. However, it is impossible to make a full-proof system.
So please be wary of anyone who asks you for money or who says he/she can make you money. Mingle2 is a dating site, not a financial service, right? You can also help us combat the problem by reporting that user.
If someone asks you to visit their “webcam” or go to another site that’s a “webcam” please ignore these scammers and report them to us. We are in no way affiliated with these scammers and work hard on banning them daily.
As always, we hope you enjoy the site and make some valuable relationships.
Sincerely, The Mingle2 Team
I don’t believe them anymore. I now think the website itself is a scam and that most of the accounts there are Mingle2 employees, not real women. I will shut down my account and move on.
I was just informed of someone even more insane and dangerous than Wahid Azal! But the parallels between them are striking. Both came from Iran and both settled in Australia. Both have acted like cult leaders at one time or another.
Verona van de Leur: The star gymnast who reinvented herself as a porn actress
The simple act of cartwheeling at the age of five begins Verona van de Leur’s story, a childhood passion which in turn led to a desire to be an Olympic gymnast.
In the intervening three decades, she became a Dutch national treasure known for her sporting prowess.
But injury curtailed her career and her life spiraled out of control. Locked out of the family home, she says she spent two years homeless and endured a fractious legal battle with her father.
Things got even worse when she was imprisoned, convicted of blackmail in 2011. She says she came within seconds of stepping in front of a train to end her life.
She says redemption came working as a porn actress and, now at the age of 34, Van de Leur has penned her autobiography, laying out details of her life.
She is adamant there are no regrets. Of her foray into the adult movie industry, which she says she stopped last year, Van de Leur told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell: “Actually no regrets because I was living on the streets … I would still do it, so I don’t have any regrets, not the way I did it, no.”
Engrossed by watching gymnastics at the 1996 Olympics, she set her heart on competing at the Games. The medals followed, with silver both at the World and European Championships. She was named Dutch sportswoman of the year in 2002 just before turning 17.
Lisa Deen, who works as a freelance sports journalist specializing in gymnastics, describes Van de Leur as “one of the greatest gymnasts in the Netherlands’ history.”
‘Left with a black hole’
To start with, Van de Leur loved the life of being a gymnast.
“It’s quite strange but it’s also fun of course — I mean you’re a teenager and everybody’s watching you in a good way, asking for an autograph, so it feels special, of course,” she says.
“Your parents are proud, your family’s proud, everybody’s talking positive about you. But you have all the pressures coming and you have to succeed at the next competition again and again.”
Trying to pinpoint when things began to unravel is hard for Van de Leur.
At times, she thinks it could have been as early as the age of nine when she took up gymnastics competitively.
What’s not in doubt is that the downward spiral started in 2003 following an injury. Suddenly, Van de Leur says, she had nothing.
“If I look back, it’s just a sport, a hobby you’re good at,” she says. “But at the time it was printed in my head, ‘This is what you are. You are only a gymnast’. And for me there was no life besides it … For the people around me, I was only that robot, only the gymnast and I didn’t have friends.
“So, if your sport is falling apart, there’s nothing left so you have this black hole.”
Van de Leur says her falling out of love with gymnastics reached its peak in 2008 when she announced to the media at the European Championships that she was walking away from the sport that had defined her life. She was just 22.
Her first reaction was happiness it was finally over, and for once she felt like she was taking control of her own life. However, when she told her parents, she says they remonstrated with her, concerned Van de Leur was turning her back on potential earnings.
In her opinion, their attitude was that “money was more important than their own daughter.” Around that time, she returned to the family home only to discover she was no longer welcome, she says.
‘Locked out of home’
CNN tried to contact Van de Leur’s father for comment via email, phone and social media but proved unsuccessful, as well as her sister.
“I tried the locks, I had a key as I was living there and you try it and it’s not working,” Van de Leur recalled. “You first think, well, it must be a mistake or I’ll just call home. They didn’t answer, they didn’t open and then I realized I wasn’t welcome anymore.”
So, she slept in her car with her boyfriend that night, first annoyed and then heartbroken that her family had rejected her. She says, “The last time I saw them was in court.”
A court summary of the case says Van de Leur argued that in 2008, her father, who acted as her agent, “withdrew an amount of €9,000 ($9768) from the claimant’s payment account without the consent or knowledge of the claimant, of which only part of the claimant was repaid or related to costs incurred on behalf of the claimant.”
She added: “I’ve asked for the accounting and where’s my sponsorship money and all the money I get from gymnastics when I won and it was just all gone. The only thing was to get justice to go to court so that’s what I did.”
An attorney listed as Van de Leur’s father’s lawyer at the time declined to comment to CNN citing code of conduct.
The court summary states that Van de Leur’s father argued that he had “incurred costs including moving the claimant’s personal property out of her trainer’s home, buying gifts for the trainer and her family, replacing locks in the defendant’s home and staying with family related to potential threats.”
However, in February 2009, a court of The Hague ordered her father to pay her €1,355.89 ($1471) as well as allow Van de Leur to return to his home to retrieve a number of items: a sunbed, tracksuits and leotards, and various presents, and to stop running a website in her name.
Reflecting on facing her parents in the court room, Van de Leur said: “From the beginning, I know I lost everything and money doesn’t get parents back.”
‘I wasn’t used to showing myself nude’
For two years after her family fallout, she says she was homeless. During that time, Van de Leur was arrested for trying to blackmail a couple having an extra marital affair — she was charged with extortion — which resulted in her spending 72 days in prison.
“In that time, being homeless, I didn’t care anymore how I got money for food,” she said.
“But even in that worst situation I know it was not my right to determine the law and, yes, I regret that I didn’t choose or find another option in that period of time. Maybe it’s good for me that I have been punished for 72 days to realize I was wrong, and I was.”
When out of jail, the adult industry — first as a webcam model and then making videos with her boyfriend — seemed a good way out. The couple is still together 13 years on.
“I saw it as a chance,” said Van de Leur. “It was a big contract so I could build something, starting my business. I was starting as a webcam model. It wasn’t physical contact, so computer screen was okay. I wasn’t used to showing myself nude, of course.”
The reaction in Holland to her dramatic career change, she says, was mixed, but having been homeless and in jail, Van de Leur saw her new job as offering her a fresh start.
“I didn’t say at the time I lived on the street or where I was coming from but for me this was actually a step up and they only saw that I was going down,” she said. “So, I kept it in my mind, it’s my life, it’s what I like to do and I always saw it as work.”
Van de Leur also made a return to the gymnastics world at the World Championships in Stuttgart last year where she worked as an analyst for the Dutch media, but she returned home prematurely before the event had finished.
As she reflects on the various twists and turns of her life, Van de Leur says she wishes she had been smarter at a younger age when her gymnastics career was taking off.
Above all these days she wants to embrace life — having come so close to ending it all.
It was amid the dispute with her family, that Van de Leur says she went to a railway line to kill herself.
“I went to the train and I was just counting from 10 to zero and I didn’t jump,” she recalled. “I don’t know why but it was really the moment that it could be all over.
“I was thinking about my family that I lost, I was living on the street, I had nothing, nothing to eat, no money in my hands, so I had nothing to live for.
“That was what I was thinking at that moment but, when the train just passed, I don’t know something snapped maybe. I still don’t know why I didn’t jump, I was crying and then just walked away.”
Now, Van de Leur says that moment gives her strength and that she’s learned to “enjoy every moment of her life.”
A harshly judgemental person would condemn her for going into porn, but she clearly only did that out of necessity because her own family rejected her for no longer being a source of income to them. If I had been this beautiful girl’s father, I would have loved and supported her even after she had quit being a gymnast, and encouraged her to pursue other interests as she got older. Then she might not have gone into porn.
But the ultimate hero in all this is the unnamed boyfriend. He never abandoned her, even after she went into porn and no doubt showed off her body to other guys to make money. That would have driven away most other love partners. But he stayed with her, even in the darkest times. He literally saved her life!