A Brooklyn man born and bred, Michael is a second generation taxi driver. Like his father, he helps people get around the five boroughs.
“Before driving a cab, I worked as a vendor in Coney Island,” Michael says. “My wife and I got married and we started a family sooner than what we expected. I needed to make quick money.” Luckily, he had his father to turn to. “My father told me the best way to go is driving a cab. He showed me all of the tricks and where are the busy areas. I still work at Coney Island in the summer time.”
Thinking back over his time as a cab driver, Michael remembers his best passenger– and the best advice he ever got from a stranger.
It started out as the worst day ever, for Michael. None of the passengers tipped him, everyone was in a rush, and he could not think of a single positive thing that had happened since sunrise. Just when he was about to sign off, an elderly lady approached his window and asked if he was still on duty, so he decided to take one last passenger that day.
“She asked if I can assist her with the door and I did. I asked where to? She said nowhere until I greet her properly.” Michael was understandably confused, but did as he was asked and exchanged pleasantries with the woman. “I said to her, ‘Hi how are you?’ She said ‘Very well, and you?’ I said I was good. Then she said where she was going.”
The woman then struck up a conversation. Michael told her he was having a bad day, and she replied that as long as he told each and every person ‘hi’, ‘how are you?’ and ‘have a good day,’ that is all that matters. Some people just do not want to be bothered, true, but she insisted that as long as he was polite he would sleep well at night.
Michael had never really thought of it that way, but he decided that the woman had a good point.
“She said: ‘When you will ever see these people again?’ After that, we had a great conversation. I assisted her to her door and she gave me a great tip, not only in cash but the advice.”