They both have lived a good life
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.