Encore: A Son On The Lessons He Learned From His Cabdriver Dad
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)
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.