Encore: A Son On The Lessons He Learned From His Cabdriver Dad

Mar 20, 2018
Originally published on March 20, 2018 10:00 pm
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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. Today - a conversation between a father and a son. Mohammad Ashraf Faridi left Pakistan in the 1980s and settled in New York City. His family joined him almost a decade later. By then, Mohammad was earning a living as a cab driver. At StoryCorps, his oldest son, also named Muhammad, talked about growing up as the son of a taxi driver.

MUHAMMAD FARIDI: You used to go to work and come back home around 2 a.m. So in the morning, you used to send me to go clean your car. I would vacuum, take out the mats, smack them against the pole to get the dust out. And then I was maybe 14, 15, and I was doing that and a kid from the neighborhood just began making fun of me - hey, cab boy, taxi boy. That's one of those experiences that made me embarrassed.

MOHAMMAD ASHRAF FARIDI: At that time, my financial position was no good, so you said I want to help you.

MUHAMMAD FARIDI: After your 18th birthday, you can get your taxi license. We drove together for a couple of days.

MOHAMMAD ASHRAF FARIDI: Right.

MUHAMMAD FARIDI: You showed me the streets, bridges, everything. And I started college and went to law school, and I was still working part-time driving. And then I began working for a federal district court judge. The judge at that time was in his late-80s, so I used to help him carry his briefcase down. And one day, the judge calls for a car service, and you came to pick him up.

MOHAMMAD ASHRAF FARIDI: Yeah.

MUHAMMAD FARIDI: I put the briefcase in the car. We waved at each other, and you drove the judge home. The next day, the judge and me - we were having lunch. I said, the driver who picked you up yesterday was my father. The judge was very upset at me that I didn't introduce him to you. I at that point never really liked talking about my family. We don't come from Park Avenue. And I was embarrassed that you drove a taxicab but not anymore. As I grew older, I'm proud. You know, I think you've done a great job.

MOHAMMAD ASHRAF FARIDI: The bottom line is this. I got everything in my life, my friends, my family. I am happy.

MUHAMMAD FARIDI: And in my life, if I can emulate that by a fraction, I would think that I've lived a good life.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CHANG: That was Mohammad Ashraf Faridi and his son, Muhammad Faridi. The younger Muhammad is now a partner in a New York City law firm. Occasionally when he needs a ride, he does give his dad a call. Their full conversation will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.