This is one of my most memorable experiences…
It’s about how I became a rickshaw driver for one day in New York. A short lived career.
Ever had an experience where you’re completely out of your depth? Want to hit the eject button kind of thing?
It was a sticky and balmy summer day.
I’m a green 19-year old. First time properly living away from home. And in the big bad apple of all places.
It was the hardest earned 30 dollars of my life… Here’s why.
So after deciding I wanted to become a self made millionaire from Rickshaw driving I pass my cycling test and begin to eavesdrop on other tour guides in Central Park because I decided that’s where the money will be.
Then out of the blue I get my first clients. They want a lift to Time Square. I quote $30 which they happily accept. They jump in but there’s one big glitch – I don’t know where time square is.
So I buy some time by cycling around Central Park for a bit until I realise I might be worrying them with my indecisiveness. Time to pick an exit and go for it!
At this stage I’m lucky they haven’t noticed my incompetence and instead comment on my charming Irish accent.
On my way out of the park a police woman tells me you can’t exit this way. “Ah yes, I remember”, I blag – starting to sweat a little more now
Next exit, luckily we escape the park. Only problem is that I don’t know where to go now.
Another policeman – “Times Square straight on right?” – I ask. Just double checking
“No, it’s that street”. Perfect, at least I know where I’m going.
Only problem is that I don’t know whether to cycle on the pavement or road. After nearly knocking down some tourists, I move on to the road – getting honked at by the yellow cab drivers.
Now dripping sweat. A question comes from the lady in the back who is now decidedly uncomfortable – “do you have insurance for this thing?”
Anyway after travelling another anxiety inducing, sweat producing four blocks I get them there alive and it’s time for my hard earned payment.
Now it’s America right but I just don’t have the audacity to say “a tip would be appreciated”.
They jump out and pay quickly – probably never happier to reach their destination than ever before.
Now I wish to tell you that the rest of the summer improved and I went on to take over the market. That’s not the case – I dropped the rickshaw back and got some work on a construction site.
Anyway, is there a morale? Not really but hopefully you chuckled.
I suppose sometimes not knowing exactly the way to your destination but having the stupidity/confidence to start is a massive thing.
The other thing is that taking a chance/silly risk every now and again can result in exhilaration and some funny times to reflect on.
Happy and silly Thursday to you all.
Declan “Failed Rickshaw” Treanor