Los Angeles-born Sameh took a cross-country leap from California to Queens, and now he helps other people get around.
“When I came to NYC, I knew some friends who were drivers,” he explains. “And they stated to me that it was a great job but that you had to work for it. At first I was a little scared but after a week I got the hang of it. I enjoy the freedom and meeting new people every day.”
In the years he’s been serving the New York City community, Sameh has learned that the small touches make the biggest impressions.
“One day I picked up a woman and we were going to the Columbus Circle Mall,” he remembers. “On the way there we passed the HOPE statue and the passenger asked me to stop. I pulled over and she got out of the car and took a picture of the sculpture. I asked if she wanted me to take a picture with her next to it and she said yes. She got back into the car and began to cry. I asked if everything was okay.
“She said she was sending the picture to her mother because she hoped there would be a cure for cancer. My heart sank. She said her mother had beaten cancer twice and this time it did not look good. I told her to believe and remember all of the good times. We arrived at the destination and I told her I would keep her mother in my prayers tonight. She thanked me. It’s amazing how the smallest thing, such as pulling over and taking a picture, can mean so much to a person.”
And Sameh got a big surprise, too, when the nice blonde woman he’d driven around the town turned up a week later on TV: it was Dolly Parton.
“I had no idea who she was when she got in the cab,” he laughs. “She was very nice.”