….and suddenly our home economy started to turn in green numbers.
A couple of visit to the fellas at San Antonio International Airport taxi cabs parking lot or (605) as it is known, convinced me to start a fascinate career in Ground Transportation. Quickly I found the cubans, a group of taxi drivers originally from Cuba my home nation.
-How much do they pay on this job? It was my shy question.
-What? Said one of the drivers I was talking to.
Well let me tell you that they do not pay, You are the one who must pay to work. Replied to me as fast as a bullet my dear friend Diosmel Lambert, a Cuban national who escaped the island in a rustic raft built by himself with little knowledge of naval engineering, back in 1994.
-I heard that this job is dangerous. It is true?
-Yes, kind of. You need to attend the wheel and at the same time be ready to jump off the car in case your passenger attempts to assault you. Said to me another veteran driver present there.
In less than ten minutes I got out of there with all my questions answered and convinced that even paying almost 100 dollars a day to the fleet owner I could make enough money to take home. At least it was my idea.
Welcome to the reality
The next three weeks were busy, attending the classes at Yellow Cab headquarters, applying for the city permits, learning about the use of the taxi computer dispatch system, the use of credit card machines, defense driving, customer services and much more. I walked out of the company with a specific training that has helped me to craft my profession and passion. On those days you could find good taxi drivers on the streets of San Antonio, guaranteed.
The day came when I was ready to hit the road and after finding my favorite unit or (to be honest the better choice of the available vehicles in the lot that day), I remember it was a Mercury sedan with almost 200k miles in the odometer with the series number 368, raided leather seats and a disgusting tobacco smell.
An instructor jumped in the passenger seat just next to me and told me:
-Straight to the medical center, I will show you the best spot in town.
-Excuse me, but I need to fill up the gas tank and go to the closest car wash, this car is not ready to hit the road. I replied.
-I understand rookie, I am a driver too. Mumbled the instructor.
An hour later we were approaching the Intersection of Babcock and Medical when the Instructor said:
-Just park over there and I will teach you how to cheat the computer and be ready for the most profitable calls in the system.
My innocence, I guess ended that day.
Note: The Instructor became one of my closest friends in this city.