Young John Part 2
Young John came to Australia when he was only 14 years old. He was from Greece, back then he was considered too old for school, yet he couldn’t speak English so he got a job in the factories.
Eventually, he got a taxi license and drove his own taxi. As a man of his era (he is early 60’s, but thinks I believe his is late 50’s) they were encouraged to reinvest their income into their taxi licenses. So, when they retire, they wouldn’t need a pension. They are the pre-super generation.
Yes! There has been a generation of taxi drivers who don’t speak great English or know their way around Melbourne or know how to use a GPS however, that was not Young John’s fault.
I know Uber has made some waves to the Taxi Industry and I like to image Uber was 1st launched as a ride-share idea, not a way for people who don’t have great cars/need to substitute their income etc to make a living.
I have this conversation with many taxi drivers all the time and they tell me all the expenses/overheard, they pay for.
They pay for their security cameras, they are required to have for our safety and theirs, they pay for the system that links them to business/fares, not to mention the new car every six year, whatever K’s and insurance.
I now live closer to the rehab centre Young John first took me to and while I don’t go there anymore, anytime I need to have a taxi somewhere I text him. I tell him where I’m wanting to go and what time I need him. He will often just text me back and we often negotiate.
Every time I see Young John, he greets me by calling me “Princess” and that I’m driving him crazy and that he’ll “call my mother” I’ve given him her number and told him to go right ahead, he has yet done so.
Lately Young John has been telling me he regrets even coming to this country that has been his home for 40+ years. He has raised his family here and he has impacted so many lives in the positive, it breaks my heart.
Getting back to why Daniel Andrews deserves a good slap these days is because he had decided to make serious reforms to the taxi licenses.
I understand they are recalling all taxi licenses and paying the owners of said licenses poultry value for them, so they can re issue them out to more people.
The value of the license is supposed to be worth half a million and they look to only be getting paid $100 grand. And no chance to get a pension. And what are the older generation supposed to do?
Mental health has become a serious issue for those taxi drivers who have worked hard all their lives here in Australia. Paid their taxes and raised and educated their children. Now, to be treated like they don’t deserve to feel their contribution has meant anything? Drive Uber?
I’m sure this topic is not done.
I’ve had some taxi drivers tell me, if they legalize Uber they will go on to the Dole (New Start!) and drive for Uber meanwhile, Young John won’t be able to get a pension in this country. I should point out, Young John’s day starts at 7am when he drives across town to collect some intellectually handicapped kids (when I say kids, I mean late 30’s) and drives them to a Centre they go to 5 days a week for activities.
I’ve often rang him when I’ve been across town at a rehabilitation facility to see if he could squeeze me in and conveniently, he was passing on his way to deliver another of his regulars to her home. In this case, a 35-year-old who was born mute.
I sat in the back as he chatted nonsense to her, entertaining her on her way home. Her interests were lollies (I know that sounds wrong) Young John singing the 1st two lines of Old MacDonald, of which he gets wrong anyway. He is amusing.
I try to call on Young John anytime I have Cab Vouchers to pay him, since he mostly squeezes me in, in-between his other “Young People” and doesn’t charge me.
Young John is like my adopted father, he asks about my love life or lack there-of and we discuss the problems in the world. Ironically, the things I don’t discuss with my own father and on the days, that I’ve received the worst news ever, Young John has been there. For a kind word and a hug.
I’m sure I’m not done singing his praises.
I hope I’ve done Young John proud, as he’s been patiently waiting for me to write about what a blessing he has been.
I know, I probably would not still be here but for people like Young John…