For some, it exists in the hazy mists of half-remembered childhood caprice, an event of minor significance alongside favorite blankets and trips to the seaside. For others, it is vivid and real, perpetually alive in the memory as if it had happened just yesterday. And for the city’s cabbies?
Macham Where I hailed him: Gramercy Where he hails from: Egypt Years as a cabbie: 10 Previous profession: Teacher
My first kiss was back in my home, in Egypt in 1979. I am 42 now. I met her in a coffee shop. She was working as a waitress. She smiles, I smile back, we have a date and at the date, then we kiss. To be honest, we do more than just kiss, you know... That was my first kiss. But I have kissed many girls since then.
Name Withheld Where I hailed him: Midtown East Where he hails from: Yemen Years as a cabbie: 10 months Previous profession: Construction
Ah, that would be when I got married. I never touched any other girls, not until I got married. That was the first time that I kissed a girl. It was a wonderful time. That is the life. You feel good, you feel right. It is very good. It is the best time. You find the right girl, you like her and she likes you — it is a very good thing.
Frederick Where I hailed him: Lower East Side Where he hails from: Haiti Years as a cabbie: 5 Previous profession: Student
The first girl I kissed was in school, a long time ago. On the back of a bus. We were very young. She did it, really. We lived near each other, we were friends and we were on the bus one day. She leans over and kisses me. Just very quick, nothing big. You know, later on with other girls there was more than that, but that was the first time.
Farooq Where I hailed him: Chelsea Where he hails from: Pakistan Years as a cabbie: 5 Previous profession: Student
Oh yes. Oh yes. I remember. It was four years ago. With my beautiful wife. There are some times that you keep with you for always. That nobody takes away. This is one of them. This... first kiss. But I... I still feel the same now to her as I did that day. [Ed. We’re sure your wife would be very happy to hear this, Farooq.] Oh yes! Yes, she would love it. I love her! For my life, she is the one.
Youssof Where I hailed him: Greenwich Village Where he hails from: Haiti Years as a cabbie: 15 Previous profession: Waiter
What? Ha ha ha. That was a long, long, long time ago. I don’t remember. No, honestly, I don’t remember. I’ve kissed a lot of girls. Yeah, I was young. I am... not a romantic. But I like to kiss the girls. Kiss the girls and make them cry, right! My lady now: I like to kiss her. [Ed. Well where was your first kiss with your current sweetheart?] In the club man. The club!
Krzysztof Where I hailed him: Midtown East Where he hails from: Russia Years as a cabbie: 20 Previous profession: Manufacturing
Look. I don’t remember. Besides, it is none of your business. My first kiss... what about your first kiss, my friend? [Ed. Lara, back of the kindergarten bus] What about your first love? [Ed. Nicole, back of the room at drama club meetings] What kind of question is this? I’m not answering. That’s private. I suppose next, you’ll want to know where I made love for the first time. Absurd. What about you? Well? Do I not have the right to ask, if you’re asking me this absurd question? [Ed. You’re right Krzysztof. It’s an absurd question.]