Guadalajara: Taxi Driver

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A driver cleans his taxi between runs.

 
 
 

If you’re staying in a foreign city for any length of time, a reliable taxi driver is a godsend. I speak from experience.
 
When I stayed in Guadalajara for six weeks last summer, I hired a private driver to deliver me daily to the Hogar de Niños, where I was teaching English. The arrangement worked fine—until it didn’t.
 
About a week after I hired the driver, he didn’t show up. No call. No explanation. I had to scramble to find a taxi, and I was about 45 minutes late to my classroom. (Fortunately, my late arrival was not an issue for the rest of the staff, especially since I was a volunteer teacher.)
 
Then my landlady recommended Jorge to me. He showed up at my apartment every morning punctually for the rest of the summer. I called him again in December, and I’ve been calling on him ever since.
 
Last Saturday when I arrived at the airport, Jorge was waiting for me, along with his 2-year-old son. He explained that his wife was working, and that normally he’d be home with his son. “But here I am, because you are my friend,” he said.
 
In Guadalajara, it is customary to negotiate a price with the taxi driver before you get in the cab. I don’t bother to negotiate with Jorge. I just give him almost twice as much as the going rate, because he has never let me down.
 
Except for this morning.
 
We had agreed that he would pick me up at 9:15. Jorge is usually five minutes early, but by 9:25, I was starting to get worried.
 
Then my phone rang. It was Jorge, saying that he had been delayed by having to maneuver around two separate crashes on his way to my apartment from the airport. He said he’d be at my place in 15 minutes. And he was.
 
Traffic was horrible. I was late to my teaching assignment. But Jorge was determined to get me there, and he did.
 
Yesterday I carelessly left my apartment keys in Jorge’s cab. When he discovered the keys an hour or so after he dropped me off at the hogar, he took the keys back to the apartment and left them with the neighbor downstairs.
 
A good taxi driver is sometimes hard to find. But when you do, he (or she) is worth every peso you pay.
 
 

Little brown sparrow,
as the blind man taps his way,
guide him with your song.

 

Text and photo © 2017 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved

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