Thursday, October 13, 2016

More Donald Trump Stories From My Cab

In looking through my journals recently (I've kept journals of my most interesting fares since I started driving a taxi in 1977) I came across two more Donald Trump stories, both from 2011.  I contend that firsthand data (you witnessed it yourself) and secondhand data (someone you know witnessed it and told you about it) can be valuable in validating or contradicting third-hand data (the media).  So with that in mind, here they are, again without embellishment.

1. January 31, 2011 -- I picked up a sixty-ish Hispanic woman and drove her to JFK, a forty-minute ride, at 4 a.m.  She told me she worked for many years for a very wealthy woman who had just died at the age of 94.  This elderly woman had a home in Palm Springs, California, and an apartment in New York City in Trump Tower.  My passenger said she is now returning to the Palm Springs home where her husband is a gardener.  I asked her if she ever meets Donald Trump in the Trump Tower building and, if she does, has she ever seen him NOT wearing a suit and a tie.  (This was on my mind ever since I'd noticed that in all the years Trump has been showing up in the media I had never seen him without a suit or tie, even when a TV camera would show him sitting in the stands at baseball games.)  She said that she had met him occasionally in the elevator and, no, come to think of it, she had never seen him wearing anything but a suit and a tie.  She said Trump was always polite and interested in her opinion about the service in his building.  She recalled that he asked her once if the doormen were friendly.  She also added that the doormen say that Trump doesn't like to shake hands with people and that she sometimes sees his young son being pushed around in a stroller by a nurse and followed by two bodyguards close behind.  

"That's the price of being too famous," I said to her.

2. June 30, 2011 -- I picked up a young Hispanic man in Queens and drove him to Washington Heights in Manhattan, a thirty-minute ride, at midnight.  He told me he works in maintenance for the Trump Organization and that the next day he will be taking a test for his license to operate boilers (a big deal for him).  I asked him if he had any Donald Trump stories and he recalled one.  He told me he had once been working at the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park, which is managed by the Trump Organization, and Donald Trump personally fired one of the workers because he wasn't dressed in the proper uniform -- instead of a black shirt and black pants, he was wearing a white shirt and black jeans.  "Asshole," my passenger said.  He added, however, that the perks of his job are great.  (No mention in my journal of what the perks are, unfortunately.)  

He said that he has seen Trump not wearing a suit and tie, "but only when he's going to play golf." 

He also told me that the owners of residences in the Trump building on Central Park South pay $80,000 a month for the maintenance of their apartments and that the man on the top floor, a penthouse, "owns a major bank."  This last bit of information I found particularly interesting because it gave me a gauge, a little measuring stick, by which to better comprehend the difference in wealth between the 1% and the rest of us.  

$80,000 a month for maintenance.  I own a small condo myself.  I pay $103.