I don’t usually take cabs in NYC. I don’t have the money. Yet for nights out like tonight, it is necessary. (Safety first!) Our group cab driver was Tariq. He told us that 3 months ago he picked up Beyonce and her friends and took them to Williamsburg. She sat in the front seat of the exact same cab, exactly where I was sitting then. If this story was true, then that means my butt sat where Beyonce’s butt sat. But my favorite part was how Tariq told us that he didn’t know it was Beyonce, and that he thought that she was just an incredibly kind woman with her friends. But then her friends told him, and he couldn’t believe it. Only in New York, right?
My cab driver on the way to my apartment after the festivities did not have a celebrity story to tell. But his made me want to cry. His name was Malik. When the ride started, he got a phone call. It was a young woman, and she was asking him how he was and how work was. She told him about her day, and he asked if he could call her back in a few. I thought it was a little strange at first, but it made sense later. Then to be nice, I asked how his night was, and we had a basic conversation like that. I told him I was a student studying book publishing, and that I wanted more than anything to be an editor. Then he told me about the phone call.
The girl on the phone was just like me, he said, a student trying to live in the city. She asked how much $6 would take her, and he said he could drive her to the subway station and she could go from there. Then she got a call and began to cry. He asked her what was wrong, and she said her grandmother was sick and in the hospital. The girl wanted to be with her grandmother but she didn’t have enough to get there. Malik said she would drive her to the hospital and cover the charge from his own pocket, and that he would wait for her to then drive her back home, but that he would have to drive others around during that time. He gave her his card and drove her to the hospital. Thankfully her grandmother was okay. The girl called Malik without any expectation that he would come back; and when he did come back, she said she couldn’t believe it. Because she still didn’t have enough money to pay him. She has kept in touch ever since.
Then he told her what he told me as he handed me his business card, “If you are ever in trouble, I will not hesitate to help you.” And he added, “But not fun stuff like whatever, but real trouble.”