A former schoolteacher from Senegal, Cosme and his brother both drive cabs in New York City. Cosme lives in Brooklyn and is studying to become a teacher in the United States as well.
“Education is the way to life and success,” Cosme says. “You cannot better the future without learning from the past.”
Cosme did not intend to be a taxi driver when he first came to the United States, and he had a bit of a rocky start.
“I thought that should be easy but little did I know I did not know the area,” he remembers, laughing. “Thank goodness for GPS!”
It was during those early days that Cosme met an interesting passenger. He had just started getting the hang of navigating Manhattan when a woman flagged him down and gave him an address on Staten Island.
“It was my first month driving. I kept thinking I was going to be stranded out there,” Cosme recalls. He soon realized that neither he nor his passenger knew how to get to the address, which was the woman’s fiancé’s new house. His passenger was a good sport about it.
“I told her I was new and she was very patient with me. She said: ‘No problem! We will get lost together,’ and laughed,” Cosme says. It stopped being a joking matter when Cosme’s GPS didn’t recognize the address. Once they reached Staten Island, Cosme pulled over to ask for directions, but no one there seemed to have heard of it either. The passenger, who wanted to surprise her fiancé, ended up calling him and asking for the address, claiming she was trying to mail him something.
“It turned out to be Long Island not Staten Island,” Cosme says. “She apologized to me and I told her not to worry and that we would find it together.” While she insisted on running the meter to the final destination, Cosme noted down the flat fare to Staten Island before they left. When she found out he was only charging her the flat fare, the passenger thanked him and hugged him.
“She gave me a great tip too,” Cosme remembers. “I am glad we were able to find the house and that I was able to find my way out of both islands.”