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Taxi Driver

He’s one of hundreds, driving his yellow taxi over the the streets of New York City. He’s from India, has been driving a cab since 1993, knows the city like he knows his kitchen table. Before this job, he sold life insurance, but he’s not really a salesman. Driving a cab lets him make more money than just about anything else. His family lives here now — a brother, a wife, three children — so he only goes back to India every couple of years, rather than every year. He seems tall, has a gray beard and glasses, a quick laugh. He owns his cab, drives it every night, sometimes all night on the weekends, pulling in money for his family. He keeps his records on a clipboard from the front seat, carefully noting the time, destination, mileage and fare of each passenger. His brother drives the same car during the day shift. He lives in Queens because Manhattan is too expensive. He likes baseball and will talk about it with a grin. He pulls for the Mets — not the Yankees. He’ll listen to the game on the radio tonight as he works. He hasn’t gotten into football, but he likes basketball too. He played soccer for 14 years in India and his spare, slim frame shows it. He probably still has a few moves. He likes the cricket that surrounded him growing up, and can’t believe the Pakistani cricket coach was murdered after a recent loss. He says cricket fans are crazy, even burning players’ houses when they play poorly. His English is good, although his Indian accent is still strong and he’s hard to hear at times. He’s a good driver, not forcing it, but getting where he needs to go, breaking into traffic when necessary, maneuvering through the crowds of cars and people. He likes to talk through the open plastic partition, his eyes watching in the rearview mirror, but he doesn’t bother passengers with unwanted conversation.

He’s not a Hindu, but a Sikh, from the northern Punjab region in the north of India. He believes we all worship the same God, we just have different ways of doing it, and every way is ok. We should try to do good deeds because we’ll need them for heaven. He has a problem with Muslims who bow down and pray five times a day, but then lie all the time because they believe their prayers will give them automatic forgiveness for whatever sins they commit. He believes you don’t have to pray at certain times each day, but can do it whenever you want to. He doesn’t seem to believe in the concept of hell, of spending eternity in punishment. Hell is here, he says.

You tell him about the gospel, tell him that men are sinners, that the only way we can be right with God is through the blood and righteousness of Christ, that anything good we do is nothing but filthy rags. You tell him that Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. He shrugs it off, unconcerned, but is willing to tell you what he believes.

He drops you off at the airport, where you pay him and remind him again that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He laughs good-naturedly, tells you he enjoyed talking to you, and is gone.

He’s one of millions who need the life-changing gospel of Christ.