Manuel – the Taxi Driver
Manuel has been working his entire life, from childhood, now into his old age, and sees no end in sight. Yet he considers himself fortunate as he takes a look at his long life and the simple pleasures and enormity of accomplishments he achieved. Working as a taxi driver for the past 16 years of his life, Manuel, now 75 years old, talks of his family and blessings he’s experience in his three quarters of a century in this world. He has gain a perspective many would envy and few have reached. This is his story:
Manual is father to four children who have all moved on in successful careers across the country of Mexico and even spent time abroad in other countries. Manuel, however, grew up in a small Mexican village, with little comforts of modern life, but, as he explained, little worries modern life brings either. His home life was secluded without much connection to news or the outside world. He felt safe and secure even with the efforts of extreme manual labor to simply get running water or reliable electricity.
The simplicity of life continued as Manuel married and then had their four children, three boys and a girl. He describes them as the joy and pride of his life, that family is really the most significant venture anyone can embark on. He had moved around from job to job to find work as it suited him, providing for the needs of his family, but never aspiring to or attaining great wealth, recognition or status. Manuel’s life was not without challenges, but he took them in stride and gained perspective from his trials so that he didn’t discuss them much. He felt they held no real value in his life, but instead focused on what he had. He chose to focus on the positive.
After his children moved out, he pursued work in the tourism industry to make a better living for himself and his wife. He moved out to the coast and settled in the cruise port town of Costa Maya. Many there set up shop in hopes that the constant flow of tourists buying souvenirs and trinkets will provide the financial stability they need in their lives. Store managers as young as 12 years old setup along the beach, anxious to sell to Americans and Europeans who come to see their beautiful views and coral seas.
Manual admitted, “At 75, I don’t really think much about my future. I’m focused on my present and the past.” He has continued his secluded lifestyle even as a taxi driver and was a bit perplexed why, in 2020, so few tourists and cruise ships seemed to be coming to his shores. The COVID-19 pandemic hit him hard financially and he hadn’t understood much about it even to this day. His only real focus on it was fewer and fewer tourists were coming asking for rides, and many, including himself had started wearing masks. As far as how many people globally had been affected or what the virus really was, as well as any conspiracy theories surrounding it, didn’t seem to matter much to him, just that tourism had stopped and it was hurting his wallet.
For his future, he hopes things continue to turn around for tourism in his country and the pandemic subsides or at least becomes manageable for daily life. He is always trying to improve and although is only able to speak the basic english words to get people in his taxi and to their destinations, he continues to try, in his old age, to learn more basic communication skills in English to help his business grow.
With a perspective focused on positivity and simplicity, Manuel has been able to focus on one task at hand. He is not burdened with global news stories of pandemics, or catastrophes beyond his control. He has a simple, but happy perspective on family, beach life and not sweating the small stuff. As he focuses on his blessings instead of his trials, he’s found happiness with what many in developed countries would consider only a meager salary.
As he continues towards his goal of happiness and satisfaction through simple means, Manuel also continues to work and work and will likely drive his taxi until the day he dies, feeling he has those things he wanted most in life through family relationships and beautiful coastal views.
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