Who is Your Hero?

05/25/2005 10:00 AM |

It has oft been said that we live in an age with fewer and fewer heroes: our leaders are fallible at best, corrupt at worst; our sports stars make millions and ingest chemicals; our entertainers are just a bunch of thugs and murderers… so is it hard to have a real hero? We asked the cabbies if they had anything to say (and none of them said fireman).


Where I hailed him:    Midtown West
Where he hails from:    India
Years as a cabbie:    2
Previous profession:    Gas station attendant

No one is my hero. Heroes are for children. Who would I be if I could live the life of a celebrity? How about Donald Trump: He’s got the money, the plane, the beautiful women, the TV show… Or maybe Bill Gates. The richest man in the world, right? In India everyone knows his name — he is like a God. Everyone is so crazy for computers that Bill Gates is better known than Michael Jordan or Bill Clinton or Tiger Woods — any of those big personalities. No one really knows Trump either — people are more interested in computers than real estate. Another celebrity I might like to be is Jessie Singh. He’s an Indian who came to America with just one dollar in his pocket. Now he is a software billionaire — much like Gates. Singh is actually from my hometown. He’s really done well.


Where I hailed him:    Williamsburg
Where he hails from:    India
Years as a cabbie:    1
Previous profession:    Bagel roller

My hero? That’s easy. It is Mr. Giuliani. Before he came, this city was unsafe. Especially for the cab drivers. In the 1980s you would hear about a driver murder every day. Our lives were on the line. There was no order. Mayor Giuliani, he controlled things. He said something and he stuck by it no matter what. That man, he really controlled. If he thought fireworks in the neighborhood were unsafe, he said so. And then the next year he cracked down. He stood by what he said. He really controlled. He was a good mayor. Bloomberg? I cannot say that I like the man. He is no Giuliani. Bloomberg does not have the same control.  


Where I hailed him:    Gramercy
Where he hails from:    Haiti
Years as a cabbie:    7
Previous profession:    Delivery driver

My hero is the man with a medallion. That is the only way to make some real money in this job. You get your medallion, you have other people drive, maybe you drive once a week if you want to. This is a hard job, but if you are in charge, it’s not so hard anymore, you know. $300,000, man.


Where I hailed him:    West Village
Where he hails from:    Egypt
Years as a cabbie:    4
Previous profession:    Car service

My hero politically or personally? Both? Alright, for me, personally, my hero is my father. After my mother died, he lived for 15 years outside of marriage. He truly loved her. For that, he is my hero. Politically, my hero is Bill Clinton. He was an excellent president. Whatever his failings personally, he was able to govern well. I truly believe he is better than Mr. Bush. I only wish Mr. Gore would have won that election in 2000.  


Where I hailed him:    Midtown East
Where he hails from:    Haiti
Years as a cabbie:    5
Previous profession:    Dispatcher

Toussaint Louverture was a very big man in my country. One of the original freedom fighters. Set up his own government – a former slave. He ran the French out, but then he trusted Napoleon. Not a good move. Napoleon betrayed him. But Toussaint had courage. I admire his courage… What did you say? It takes courage to drive in Manhattan traffic every day? You’re damn right it takes courage. Damn right.