They both have lived a good life

20 Mar 2018

Mohammad Ashraf Faridi, a livery taxi driver, and his son MuhammadFaridi, a partner in a New York City law firm, speak about Muhammad’s growing up with his dad.

How long have you been living in the US, Mr. Faridi?

Mohammad Ashraf Faridi: I left Pakistan for the U.S. in the 1980s. I settled in New York City, and my wife and three children joined me almost a decade later. By then, I was earning my living behind the wheel of a taxicab.

What do you remember from your childhood, Muhammad?

Muhammad Faridi: Dad used to go to work and come back home around 2 a.m. In the morning, he would send me to clean the car. I would vacuum, take out the mats, smack them against the pole to get the dust out.

Do you remember anything in particular?

Muhammad Faridi: Well,I remember one of those mornings when I was 14 or 15. A kid, someone from the neighborhood just began making fun of me: ‘Hey! Cab boy!Taxi boy!’

That’s one of those experiences that made me embarrassed.

And what do you remember from your son’s childhood, Mr. Faridi?

Mohammad Ashraf Faridi: Money was tight for our family, and Muhammad wanted to pitch in. When he was old enough to get a taxi license, he approached me and said ‘I want to help you’.

Was it you to teach your son to drive?

Mohammad Ashraf Faridi: Yes, I remember that time quite well. We drove together for a couple of days.

Muhammad Faridi: He showed me the streets, bridges, everything.I continued to drive part-time through college, then law school.

Where did you work after graduating?

Muhammad Faridi:  I landed a clerkship with a federal district court judge. The judge was in his 80s, so I would sometimes help him carry his briefcase. One day, the judge called for a car service, and when the driver arrived, it was my dad.

What did you feel at that moment?

Muhammad Faridi: I was happy to see father. I put the judge’sbriefcase in his car. We waved at each other. And he drove the judge home.

Did you tell the judge that the driver was your father?

Muhammad Faridi:The following day, over lunch, I told the judge who that driver was. The judge was very upset at me that I didn’t introduce him to father.

Back then, I didn’t like talking about my family. We don’t come from Park Avenue, and I was embarrassed that dad drove a taxicab. But not anymore. As I grew older, I’m proud. You know, I think he’s done a great job.

Are you proud of your son, Mr. Faridi?

Mohammad Ashraf Faridi: Of course, as every parent is. The bottom line is this – I got everything in my life — my friends, my family. I am happy.

Muhammad Faridi:And in my life, if I can emulate that by a fraction, I would think that I’ve lived a good life. Today, I work for a New York City law firm. And occasionally, when I need a ride, I’ll give my dad a call.

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