Memories of A Woman Who Taxied to Arizona

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Last April, Betty Matas and her husband took a New York City cab all the way to Arizona. Neither of them drove, and they didn't want to put their two cats in a plane's cargo hold. Matas died this week at 75.


Betty Matas died this week at the age of 75. Her name might not be immediately familiar, but it made many news broadcasts only last spring. Bob and Betty Matas were leaving Queens, New York, where they'd lived all of their lives to retire in Sedona, Arizona.

Like a lot of New Yorkers, Bob and Betty didn't drive, but they also didn't want to fly and have their two cats travel as air cargo. So they hailed a cab -a New York taxi driven by Douglas Guldeniz, an immigrant from Turkey, who'd rarely been west of New York Airport.

He thought the trip sounded like fun and it was. The trio saw long sunsets over mountains and prairies. They ate strawberry pie in late-night neon diners. They made friends and wrote down their addresses on napkins. A parade welcomed their cab to Sedona.

But Betty Matas has been sick over the past few months. Her legs swelled and her lungs filled. But when we spoke with Bob Matas this week, he said she still had the time and charm to make many friends in their new home. Everybody loved her because she loved people, he said. Thirty-eight years - I wish we could do it all again.

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