To the editor,
On Saturday, April 28, I got a flat tire on the Queensway in front of St. Joseph’s Hospital. With traffic whizzing by and rain falling, I called my roadside assistance and they were going to take 45 minutes to an hour to get there.
The next thing I know, a man is knocking on my passenger window and offers to change my tire for me. He helped direct my car off the busy roadway and proceeded to change my tire in the rain. He even refused the umbrella I held over him saying, “no, cover yourself, I don’t mind getting wet”.
After changing the tire, he neatly put everything away and advised me to drive slowly and carefully on the spare. He refused any payment - even when I offered money for a coffee.
What a wonderful Good Samaritan! I found out that he was a taxi driver with City Taxi waiting for fares at the hospital. His name is Elrasheed Elkari (Ambassador 850). I wanted to acknowledge Elk for helping me and reminding me of the many benefits of human kindness.
To the editor,
(Editor’s note: The following letters were an email exchange after news early in May that yet another New York City taxi driver had committed suicide. The first letter is Gerry Manley, the reply is from Mississauga plate owner Peter Pellier.)
This is the second taxi driver in New York City over the past year who has committed suicide over how the politicians and bureaucrats have destroyed our industry and the years they spent building their business to the point they could no longer take the strain and pressure and unfortunately decided to end their lives.
Although it has not happened in Canada as of yet, I will not be surprised if it does, yet the political and bureaucratic changes that have caused these horrific incidents continue, without being addressed by government.
To the Globe and Mail (which published a story on the latest NYC taxi driver suicide): It does surprise me and always has that numerous articles have been sent to your newspaper about the pressures and unfairness that the City of Toronto continues to apply to its taxi industry yet you never report on that, apparently believing what is happening in the United States is more important. Is it going to take a Canadian taxi driver to kill him or herself before you feel the plight of taxi drivers in Toronto and throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada is worthy of your publication attention and reporting on this?
Gerald H. Manley
In human terms, the tragedy of yet another suicide in New York City knows no bounds. It reveals the level of despair experienced not just by the two cabbies who felt compelled to take their life, but also by those colleagues who invested heavily in a medallion, only to find themselves unable to meet their financial obligations in a grossly oversaturated market.
It is one thing for municipal councils throughout the GTHA to turn their backs on local cabbies by welcoming Uber et al with open arms; quite another for the City of New York, which, since 1996, has auctioned newly-minted medallions to the highest bidders.
(In November, 2013, 200 medallions attracted winning bids exceeding $200 million in total - over $1,000,000 each.)
For this kind of coin, it behooved NYC to protect the interests of those whose money it willingly took. Alas, such was not the case.
Much ink has been spilled urging cabbies in every major North American jurisdiction to take legal action against their respective regulator for enabling Uber to gain unfettered access to a well-regulated industry. Arguably, New York’s medallion owners possess the most compelling case of all.
It begs the question, how many more lives will be lost in the face of mounting desperation?
Every single elected representative who enabled Uber, Lyft and other PTC’s to operate at will, at the considerable expense of hard-working cabbies - many of whom had years of experience servicing the public - has blood on their hands.
Were he alive to-day, doubtless, William Shakespeare would have plenty to say about this gross miscarriage of justice.
Peter D. Pellier