Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The roaming treasure trove

Ever talked to taxi drivers?

I found myself in that exact position when me and gf took a cab back home. The cab driver is around 60 yrs old. He didn't look like that age at all, but perhaps the dim lighting hid his age well. My gf started to talk to him while I was basically slumping in the seats, having had a hard day of work. It was late, I just wanted to get back home and rest, so the last thing I would do is to talk to a stranger who had no interest in your life at all except for that half an hour or so that it took for the cab to go to your desired destination.

Still, on that very night, my gf started to make small talk with him. It's amazing how much information you can gleam from others, if only you ask the right questions and sound sincere enough. It's like a rusty tap - give it the right twist and all the water that had been in the pipes will flow out. I'm a good listener, especially so when I'm tired, so I just sat that with all the water flooding around me.

I started off hearing, then began listening as the information gets more and more interesting. That cab driver had been retrenched, fallen into debts and got nearly bankrupt (I like the word implies that you are looking at one scenario that could have happened but didn't...but i digress). However, he managed to stem the bleeding and recovered in 8 months. He had 2 kids - one daughter and one son - both of them had already graduated and started working. Having no need to work anymore but wanting to get some more money, he still treats his job very seriously. He lamented about other cab drivers who are not there to make a living, preferring to drink kopi with other drivers instead of doing their rounds. He proudly mentioned that from the moment he started his shift, he'll be in the taxi until he first recovered his $90 rental, then plus some more.

That cab driver is a very knowledgeable person with a very open mind. He shared with us his philosophy in life freely and I learnt a few tricks to cultivating kids so that they will grow up to be someone who can stand on their own. His immense sense of responsibility and duty dawned upon me when he mentioned that even though he is in debts, it is his problem to resolve it and he never pass on the problem to his family. He truly displays the characteristics worthy of being called the man of the house!

Gf mentioned to me before that everyone has a story to tell, if you would only listen to it. I think just sitting on the cab for the journey made me gain XX years of life experience. He had so much to say and we had so much more to learn that we kept talking for 30 more mins even after we'd reached our destination.

Had his phone number already... we'll be meeting this guy for some very long chats.


PanzerGrenadier said...


Yes, everyone has a story to tell. That's why the whole blogging phenomena took off partly because it allows anyone is has basic IT and web literacy plus internet connection to share their own unique stories with the world!

Be well and prosper!

Unknown said...

Hi LP!

I think Ly has what it takes to be a good finanacial planner! Good questioning + listening skills.

I knew of insurance agents who can close a case within the 30 mins cab ride.

Do update us when u chat with the cab driver again!


la papillion said...

Hi PG,

Hmm, I've never thought of that before.. Thanks for sharing your insight!

la papillion said...

Hi HH,

Must be your good guidance and advice that made her who she is. Thanks!

Financial Freedom said...

Wow. 30 minutes talk after you have reached your destination. That is pretty amazing.

But I must admit that a taxi driver's life is hard. Very difficult for them to make back the taxi rental money. The taxi companies actually earn the most. $90 per day for rental equates to $2700 per month. That more than covers the cost of the taxi with profits!

la papillion said...

Hi FF,

It's really very hard to be a taxi driver. The odds are against you. Imagine starting to work with a debt to pay, regardless of whether it's Sat/Sun, Public holiday or not.

Of cos, the taxi companies can say they did give benefits to drivers (like discounted diesel price, 'leave' for a few days each year etc). I don't think it's enough. If only we could buy a car ourselves and rent it out!

Unknown said...

Aiyo LP not me, she has cheery personality and LOTS OF ENERGY! plus she can connect well with people from all levels!

See you soon! Laksa shop should open in a week time..the frontage is wooden platform, even the walls are tiled with 30+yrs old wooden planks, serving area with kelong wood; + wooden tables & chairs -- very "ancient" ah kong feeling. :)


Touzi said...

Well, some people can sound very impressive initially, but when you get to know him/her that may not be the case. Talk is cheap ( just like what the Telco said ). That is one of the reasons some people ace the interview but couldn't handle the job.

Just curious, did the taxi driver complain against gahmen or sound bitter?

la papillion said...

Hi touzi,

Thanks for visiting :) Oh, you're quite the cynic, haha :)

To ans your question, no, the taxi driver did not complain about the govt or sound bitter at all. I've seen that sort of drivers before, so I know which ones you're talking about.

This guy is very different. First of all, he treated the shit in life positively, taking it as a positively learning experience to better himself. Even his retrenchment and near bankruptcy he took it in stride.

I really admire his responsibility and duty towards his family. I would want to be a father like him.

Musicwhiz said...

Well what Touzi said is right. I do know people who talk a lot but in the end, did not achieve much.

However, this cab driver sounds different. A good experience indeed.


Createwealth8888 said...

Some professionals and managers become taxi drivers after been retrenched in their last jobs so don't be surprise if they are very knowledgeable.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
iisterry said...

Did you meet the PHD taxi driver?


la papillion said...

Hi iisterry,

Nah, haven't. No time to meet him cos of work :)

Grey said...

Here's a taxidriver blog; Highly educated driver;