Story on the Road: I just got back from a brief visit to Pennsylvania to bring my son home from his college. My flight was at 6 AM, so we got on the taxi cab at 4:30 AM. Cory was waiting right on the front door of hotel with his taxi cab at the exact time. He is a tall, medium built, in his 30s with scruffy beard and the baseball cap he wore readily declared his loyalty to the Pittsburgh Pirates. A kind and active man he was, helping my family and I with the luggage.
Once on the road and he started driving through the early morning desolate mountain roads half blanketed in a thin layer of fog we start chatting. He was actually a machinist got hurt in a motor vehicle accident that injured his back. With multiple surgeries, and protracted pain he had a long rehab time. During this time he refused to take any narcotic drugs except in the period immediately after the surgeries. His youth, determination and strength of mind got him healed physically sooner than many other people but little did he knew that his main struggle of life would just about to begin. After the back injury, no one would hire him as a machinist any more. By now he had a wife and a newborn son. He badly needed a job which will keep his family afloat and also pay for the recently mortgaged house payments. A friend of him encouraged him to drive taxi and this was his start.
He drives taxi seven nights a week and rapidly rose to be one of the highest paid cab drivers in his area. He maintains a tight schedule with his regulars and keeps them happy. Some of them tried Uber thinking this would be cheaper, but quickly came back to him. There is no alternative to good service. Within one year of starting on taxi, he also found a three day a week job as a machinist to make screws for eye glasses and as quality control officer. When I asked him why he works so hard, his answer was straight, spontaneous and very American, “Now I have another son and I need to take care of my family. Besides if you’re lazy, you’re broke!” he proclaimed smilingly, a smile that shined through his scruffy beard.
With his hard work he now has acquired another home enjoying the rental income from it. He had opened education accounts for his children. I asked him besides the constant risk of traffic accident what other work hazards he comes across regularly in his night time taxi driving. “Sometimes it is the rudeness of people that is more hazardous than chance of traffic accidents” he answered. “What do you do if people are rude?” I asked him. “I generally kill them with my kindness, it is rare that I have to ask them to get out” he put forward again with a broad reassuring smile keeping his eyes on the rear view mirror of the moving vehicle.
He grew up with eight other brothers in a Pennsylvania Catholic family. Few years ago, his grandfather died in a head on collision with a drunk driver. Since then seven of the nine brothers promised themselves not to drink and only remaining two brothers of him drink alcohol. By this time the short drive of the airport came to an end. Cory helped again with the unloading and after taking the money he disappeared in the light early morning traffic of the airport. He already had another client waiting to be picked up.
Magic Bullhorn Moment:
1. If You are Lazy, You are Broke!
2. Kill Rudeness by Kindness!
I love to interview common people of our beautiful country and enjoy exploring treasured story every human hides within himself. So refreshing and inspiring they are! It reminds me of the blessed country we live in and our people are the best assets we have. We have the most hardworking people of the whole world and their work ethics are second to none. This is why America is second to none. I had learned and gained knowledge on something by talking to this young man that I never knew. By the time the ride was finished, I was reassured of the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit of common men and women in our country. God Bless America.