Originally from Pooler, Georgia, Briel used to work in shipping but became a taxi driver when his company moved.
“I worked there for most of my life, since I was 18 years old,” Briel says. “The company moved to Texas and I did not want to move. I was getting older, so I wanted a more flexible job.”
Being a taxi driver, in addition to being less stressful, has given Briel the opportunity to help people, both by being an accessible dispatch driver and while picking up daily fares.
Briel remembers picking up a couple from the airport. It was their first time in the United States and they spoke limited English. At first all seemed well, but when Briel took them to the hotel they had booked, a problem arose.
“They looked scared,” Briel remembers. “They said to me: ‘this is not what it shows in the pictures.'” It turned out that, while the couple had thought their hotel would be in Manhattan, they had actually booked their stay in a “not so good” part of Queens.
Briel came to the rescue, then. He told them that he know several hotels in Manhattan that were decent and not too expensive, and drove the couple to one of them.
The couple was profusely grateful to him for “saving their belongings” as they put it, and Briel also gave them a few ideas for places to see in the city.
“They continued to thank me and shake my hand, and they gave me an awesome tip,” says Briel. “I told them it was too much but they said no no take it for helping them. Just helping a person out can go a long way.”