Jon has a good job at a warehouse in Hunts Point. He moved up to shift manager and got a raise this year. But his weekends are still spent driving a cab to save for Yankee tickets.
“The extra money comes in handy,” Jon says, “but that’s not the only reason I do it. I have always wanted a cool story about driving a ballplayer. I’ve heard about guys picking up Satchel Paige. He paid with checks and the guys never cashed ‘em because they had Satchel’s signature.
“I want to drive Derek Jeter someday,” Jon continues. “I would get him where he’s going in record time and then maybe he would flip me an autographed ball and say, ‘You’re the best driver in the city.’”
Jon laughs at his own story and says:
“That would be a first coming from one of my fares.”
His driving has been described as “unique” and “interesting” and “the most frightening 20 minutes imaginable.” One lady even suggested that he should drop everyone in Coney Island so they could ride the Cyclone to calm their stomach.
“She was exaggerating a bit,” Jon says. “I may not be as smooth as the full-time hacks, but I get the job done.”
The job has changed.
“You used to talk to people about the weather and baseball and maybe politics,” Jon explains. “If they were visiting you would tell them about the Statue of Liberty and the best breakfast joints.
“Most people don’t want to talk these days,” he continues. “They are all wrapped up in their own little world with headphones and cellphones.
“It’s just not as interesting as it used to be,” Jon goes on. “There are people I drove years ago that I’ll never forget. Then there are faces that got in my cab last week and I couldn’t pick them out of a lineup.”
He will always be looking for Jeter.
“It’ll probably never happen,” Jon admits. “But there’s no harm in keeping the dream.”