Every dark cloud has a silver lining.
Beck driver Khadir Geda has endured the dark clouds of Uber’s arrival and COVID-19; the silver lining has been his opportunity to purchase a taxi plate and vehicle at a price virtually unimaginable only a few years ago.
“Owning my own taxi has been a long-term goal of mine,” he explains. “I have been keeping my eye on the market; I did not see the current uncertainty as a reason to change my long-term goal.”
There will always be uncertainty, he points out: “Who expected COVID-19? Who knows what next year will bring? Nobody knows. I made my own decision, to seize the day.”
Geda arrived in Canada from Ethiopia in 2003, and first went to work in a manufacturing plant which made auto parts.
“I had a friend who drove taxi, and occasionally I had to take one myself,” he recalls. “It looked like it could be a better way to make a living.”
Geda enrolled in Toronto’s Taxi School – “It was long, but it was a good program,” he notes – and got his Taxi Driver’s license. He kept his day job in manufacturing and began driving weekend shifts.
“Right from the start, I liked the work better,” he explains.
“I really like driving, I actually ENJOY it,” he notes. “So that part of every day is no problem. I leave my house happy.”
What really tipped the balance for him, though, is the fact that he has a very soft spot on his heart for senior citizens.
“I was raised by my grandmother, I loved her so much. She was so good to me. So, when I started driving taxi and I realized how much of the work involves serving senior citizens, it seemed very natural to me. I enjoy helping them, I enjoy their company. It does not feel like work.
“From a very young age, I loved driving and I am a very service-oriented individual, so driving taxi is a perfect combination.”
Geda’s “perfect combination” became even more perfect when he fell in love and married his wife Iftu. They welcomed three children in a few short years, and Geda realized the flexibility offered to him as a taxi driver was invaluable.
“I can schedule my day to be free to pick them up from school,” he notes, “or schedule shifts around my wife’s work calls and meetings. I can be flexible, and that is really important to my family right now.”
Given a choice between flexibility and guaranteed income, Geda has opted for flexibility: “I would not exchange my flexibility for more money. I am happy with my choice.”
His advice to new drivers is to have patience, because driving is just one part of the job.
“You will meet people,” he points out. “They will be happy. They will be angry. They will be looking to cause trouble. They are people. Be patient.”