Hyman Bloom (left) and Andrew Vollo at StoryCorps in New York City.
Hyman Bloom (left) and Andrew Vollo at StoryCorps in New York City. StoryCorps
New York taxi driver Andrew Vollo has been interviewing his fellow cabbies at StoryCorps.
When retired cab driver Willie Bly recorded his memories of the business, one passenger stood out from all the others.
Hyman Bloom started driving a cab in New York City more than 30 years ago. He made $40 for 10 hours of work, he remembers — and started to wonder what he was doing in a taxi.
But the job has its allure, Bloom recently told Andrew Vollo, a fellow cab driver. For one thing, he gets to talk to people and move around, instead of being stuck in an office.
And with New York's grid of streets, it's easy to learn how to get around the city, he says.
"My wife says I'm a simpleton, so it's perfect for me," Bloom says.
Bloom often jokes around with his fares, making passengers laugh with his comedy routines, told from behind the wheel.
"I don't know why it is, the women want to hear all the filthy jokes," Bloom says.
And he says he wouldn't change much about his life. The lure of more money never threatened to take him away from life as a cabbie. Bloom recalls something his father told him years ago.
"If you always have $1 in your pocket," he says, "and you don't owe anybody any money, you're a rich man."
And at 77, Bloom says he learned how to live a long and happy life from his mother.
"She used to say, 'Hymie, be a dummy — you'll never get an ulcer. Dummies don't worry about anything!' That's what I am, a dummy."
After decades of passengers and stories, Bloom retired from driving his cab last year.
Produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.