Mention the words "New York cabbie" and what's the first thing comes to mind?
Harrowing, swerving thrill rides through Manhattan's concrete canyons? Sarcasm? Caustic commentary on everyone from the mayor to the driver who just cut him off?
Well, how about honesty?
That's what one New York woman will think of first the next time she recalls a particular New York cabbie -- a young Pakistani by the name of Qurbe Tirmizi -- a gemology student who wants to become a jeweler. Tirmizi is 20 and drives the cab to pay for tuition at the Gemology Institute of America.
So he could have used the $32,000 in cash the elderly woman left in the back of his cab. But integrity is worth more to Tirmizi than money. He's a devout Muslim.
So when he found the woman's identification in the leather satchel, he took it immediately to police.
It was the woman's life's savings and she tried to give Tirmizi a reward. No, he said. Returning her money was the right thing to do. All he wanted from her was her blessing to help him through his studies and through life. That, of course, was something he already had.
Honesty does pay. It's too bad that some people consider the pay below their minimum wage.
MORT CRIM'S Second Thoughts appear Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the Free Press. Listen to Second Thoughts on WWJ-AM (950) at 6:40, 8:40 and 10:40 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. weekdays or visit www.mortcrim.com.