Q: How long have you been a limo driver in the tri-state area?
A: Three years. I’m quitting in a month to buy a hotel, probably in Maine or New Hampshire.
Q: Have you had any crazy passengers?
A: Yesterday I had a lady. You’re not supposed to drink in the car — the cops will take my license. There are bumps in the road, you know, and I took a turn and the beer spilled in the car. She told me I don’t know how to drive. I told her I know how to drive. “Shut the fuck up,” she said. I said, “Don’t use bad words or I won’t take you into the city.” She made me call the company. But the company told me they have to believe the customer. I don’t want to mess up the impression I’ve made. I don’t want to lose the account. Sometimes people have a bad day and they take it out on you.
Q: So do you drive mostly for companies?
A: Yes, about 95% is corporate. I have company VPs, they request for me.
Q: How many hours have you worked today?
A: About thirteen hours.
Q: And have you ever been in an accident?
A: Not so far, thank God.
Q: Have you gotten any tickets?
A: Yes. Mayor Bloomberg hired three hundred more cops to write tickets. They get the license plates and send you tickets when you weren’t even there.
Q: Really? Because they know you’re with a company and they just send in the tickets?
A: Yes. We keep a list of the places we go every day and I tell them, “I wasn’t there!” but they still have to pay it.
Q: Does it come out of your check?
A: If it’s the pickup time or like ten minutes before the pickup time, then the company will pay. Otherwise we have to pay. Some companies do that and some do not. But my company does that.
Q: Are the tickets for speeding or double parking?
A: For parking usually. The company tells you to circle around, but it’s Manhattan, you know?
Q: So it might take twenty minutes or more to get around the block?
Q: Have you ever picked up anyone famous?
A: I drove Jason Giambi once. I took him from the airport to his house in the city.
Q: Is he on the Mets or the Yankees?
A: Yankees! I also gave Harrison Ford directions once when I worked at a gas station.
Q: How long have you been in America?
A: Seven years.
Q: Did you speak English when you got here?
A: No. I had taken some classes but I decided I’m not going to be shy, otherwise I’m going to be handicapped here.
I’m from India and my parents don’t speak much English. I live with my parents and they don’t work outside the home. It’s different in India. Once the oldest son can work, the parents stop working. I will support my family; I will keep my parents with me. The house is in my name, or my brother’s.
My mom just called me — she wants to know what I want for dinner.
Q: Do you think you’ll meet a girl who won’t mind having your parents living with you?
A: I have a girlfriend for three years. I’m Muslim and she is Hindu. Her parents won’t let her see me. They can’t see that I am going to work for a few years, make money and then settle down. I work hard, but her parents don’t see that.
Q: If you got married, would her parents live with you too?
A: No, they live with their son.
Q: Can I ask how much you get paid?
A: I can’t really say per hour, but I get 90 to $100,000 a year.
Q: Wow. Knowing what you know now, would you recommend this job to any of your friends? Say, if they were new to the country?
A: I would say it’s better to work only for eight hours. I would say no.