Erick was born and raised in Chicago, and came to New York in to find better work and more opportunity. Now he lives in Long Island, where he works full time in a hospital while also driving his cab. He wants to earn his Commercial Driver’s License soon, or go to work for the MTA.
“Honestly, I did not know what I was signing up for when I was trained for this vehicle,” Erick says about driving a wheelchair-accessible taxi. “I actually enjoy picking up dispatch calls. It is guaranteed payment and you meet so many interesting people. It is a win-win situation.”
Driving a taxi will pay for Erick’s CDL, but it’s not all about the money to him. One story in particular serves as an example of how taxi drivers can help their communities.
One day while Erick was driving, he saw an elderly woman nearly walk into traffic, so he stopped short and pulled over. The woman ignored him and continued on her way.
“I went to her and ask if she was ok,” Erick remembers. The woman seemed to recognize him, and asked if he was someone else. “I told her no. She began to cry. I asked her if she knew where she was and she said yes Las Vegas. I knew right then she was off.”
Erick asked her to get into the cab so that he could drive her either to the police or the hospital, and she complied, but soon asked him for some coffee.
“I stopped at a food cart and got her one. Then she began talking normally again,” Erick says.
He still took the woman to the hospital, and told the ER nurse what happened and she thanked me for assisting her. The woman asked him to stay with her, so he parked his taxi and waited for two hours, when the woman’s granddaughter arrived to collect her.
“[The granddaughter] asked me how much money she owed me and I said nothing. I just didn’t want [the elderly woman] to get hurt,” Erick says. The granddaughter still insisted on giving him some form of payment, so Erick asked for a dollar.
“She gave me a lot more than a dollar,” he notes, “but at least I did a good deed and her grandmother is safe.”