Abdul, The Hack

This was written a few years ago by Bob Dvorak.

Abdul came to New York City, and, as so many immigrants do, he became a
taxi driver. But he was determined to be no ordinary taxi driver… at the
end of a 15-hour workday, he went home to city street maps and tour guides,
and studied and studied.

Within a fairly short time he knew every back street; every alley; which
one-way streets went one way and which, the other. And soon, because he was
so efficient at transporting customers from one end of the island to the
other, he was making double, and triple, what the other cabbies were
bringing home.

Well, New York being what it is, he determined that it would take forever
to build an “empire” in the city — what with the costs of insurance, and
garaging, and taxes — so he’d relocate to a smaller city, perhaps
Pittsburgh, or St. Louis, but apply all the principles he’d learned in New York.

So Abdul moved, taking his single cab with him. And assiduously studied
his new maps. And, sure enough, within six months he’d saved enough to
purchase a second cab and hire a driver — and before this driver was
permitted to foray into the city streets he had to pass a test
demonstrating his equally-deep knowledge of the city thoroughfares.

Time passed, and by five years later, Abdul had a whole fleet of taxis,
and fifty or more employees. His empire had grown such that he no longer
needed to drive, himself, but he sat in a luxurious office and devised
continuing improvements to his service.

One afternoon a reporter from the city newspaper came by to interview
Abdul — how he came to be there, and how an immigrant had become so successful.

Abdul explained that the secret of his success was hard work and absolute
attention to detail, but primarily hard work. He was still putting in
sixteen-hour days, six or seven days a week. “But,” continued the reporter,
“if you’re working so hard, when do you get a chance to enjoy the fruits of
your labors? What’s in it for you? What kind of life do you live?”

And Abdul got up from his mahogany desk, and walked over to the window,
drew aside the velvet drape for a glorious unobstructed panorama of the
city. He motioned the reporter over alongside him and swept his arm across
the vista of the taxi parking lot behind the building.

“There, my friend, is your answer. Life is a cab array.”

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