Driving a cab around NYC is not easy. I remember one time when my eldest daughter was in college, I told her my back was aching and I needed a doctor’s appointment. She laughed at me like I was a clown in a circus.
“How hard can it be to sit in one place? That’s all you do dad. Sit and make money?” She said as if I got paid to do nothing. I did what any rational father would do. I took her on a long drive to Manhattan. The first half an hour was okay. The second hour was hell for her
“I’m getting a headache.” She complained. “I think its anxiety. The lights are making my head hurt. My vision seems blurry. Why are there so many bumps on the road? Doesn’t that retard know how to drive? It’s called a blinker for a reason. Ufff Allah he could’ve slammed his car into mine. I need to pee.”
I’ve been driving a cab, in NYC, for more than twenty years and never have I complained as much as she did in that one day. I think that’s parenting done right. Teaching your kids the value of hard work. But I never forced my kids to get a job. I wanted them to focus on their education. I was willing to take loans, sell my cab if I had to just to make sure they wouldn’t end up driving a cab in NYC like me. I didn’t sail across the Atlantic Ocean, hit rock bottom just so my kids would have the same future as me. I knew in Pakistan my children wouldn’t accomplish much so I bought them here. Where there are more opportunities than I can count.
Imagine having to sit in one place for twelve hours, with your arms extended on the steering wheel and your left foot pressing the accelerator or break. Imagine having to be focused on the road, the pedestrians, the bicycles and other vehicles. And let’s not talk about the traffic in Manhattan.
Sometimes during peak times it takes me half an hour to get to a place that would usually take me ten minutes. And my bathroom breaks are usually in McDonalds or any petrol pump. There are times when I get drowsy and I have to find a parking space just so I could rest for a while before starting the day again. I got shot in the head (which is a whole other story. I’ll write about it someday or maybe you can read about it in the auto biography my daughter is making me write). But because of that accident, I’ve been having such intense headaches that I lose focus and my vision becomes blurry. It’s been around thirty years and the headaches haven’t gone away, and I don’t think they ever will.
The worst part of driving a cab though is the rude people.
“Go back to your country.”
“You piece of s***”
“Muslims are terrorists.”
“Are you a part of ISIS?”
I remain calm. Never have I lost my temper. When you deal with four kids you develop that kind of patience. I try to explain to those people that Islam is not a violent religion. People are violent. Islam in Arabic literally translates to PEACE. But people are so blinded by their hatred that they don’t care. And to add to the cherry my English isn’t well. I can speak, but I have trouble debating. My daughter is helping me with this blog and she refuses to write anything that talks about her in any way.
“You have three other kids. Make fun of them.” she’s arguing with me right now. But getting back to my taxi. The most annoying part is when people jump into my cab and make a mess in the back as if I’m a part time custodian and will clean after them. One time a drunk woman threw up so much that it was a river back there. It cost me twice as much to get my taxi cleaned. This is why I have a personal issue with people who get drunk. If you can’t handle it stop drinking!
The most frustrating part of driving a cab is when people take a taxi and don’t pay. One time this woman said she had to go to New Jersey. I drove her two hours and dropped her in front of an apartment building. As soon as I stopped the cab, she jumped off and ran into the building. Long story short, I lost more than a hundred dollars, including petrol and four hours of my time.
But I don’t mind driving a cab even though it gets hectic at times. If that’s the only way to support my family, I’ll do it as long as I have strength in my body.