When Annie and I landed at LaGuardia this morning, we must have pulled the winning lottery ticket and actually had our luggage come out within 3 minutes of arriving at the baggage claim. Our good fortune continued when we hopped in the back of the next taxi queued up and asked our driver to take us home. When he found out that we'd just come back from a weekend in Texas seeing my family, he asked what we thought about Rick Perry running for President. We talked a little further as he zipped in and out of traffic on the FDR and found out that his son is a Spine Surgeon having finished up at Cornell Medical School and his daughter is a banker in Midtown having completed her degree at NYU Stern.
Our cabbie was 62 years old and moved to New Jersey 45 years ago after leaving Hungary as a young man. He waited in Italy for over 2 years to get his visa approved before arriving in New York and starting a new life in America. He met and married his wife of 35+ years and worked 7 days a week to put food on the table for his young family. He started driving cabs on the weekends to make some extra money and then realized he could own his own business. He took all the money they had in the entire world and took out a loan to buy an NYC Taxi Medallion. When he bought the Medallion, it cost him $27,000. He eventually bought two more and had a small taxi company of his own. This past December, he decided that he wanted to sell his business and only drive a couple days a week for a friend. He sold each of his Medallions for $910,000 and is now sitting on $2,700,000 deciding what he wants to do next.
He said something that really stuck with me: "Back then, everyone knew that if you work really hard to become really good at what you did, you could make a life for you and your family. You might not have everything, but with enough hard work, you could be happy. And I guess you could say that worked out for me."
That is the kind of country I want to live in. That is the kind of truth I want to share when I'm in my 60s.
That is the reason I love talking to NYC Cabbies.