“I think she’s going to be a doctor.”


New York is never fun in the winter, at least for this tropical baby. That being said, I had a good two work days there in February, and next up on my schedule was a fun trip to Miami.

My driver to the airport, Muhammad, had some difficulty getting on my street because of traffic, but we eventually managed to find each other. He was a dour  man who spoke in monosyllables, and I guessed that he was from Pakistan. His English was difficult to understand, but buoyed up by the excitement of seeing friends in Miami, I plunged on and kept on asking questions.

There was a ton of the usual NY traffic. Muhammed slowly opened up as I continued to brim with enthusiasm and interest in his life. It turned out that he was an engineer, that he had tried to find work as an engineer, but had not been successful. He sounded bitter about it, but vowed that things would get better. He also had many interesting ideas for accounting tools for businesses that he wanted to create.

“How about family?” I asked, as he cursed at an errant cab.

He beamed in pride.  “I have one daughter. I think she’s going to be a doctor.”

I asked him how old she was.

“Seven,” he admitted. “But really. She’s so smart.”

“I’m sure!”

“She’ll have a very good life here. Better than me,” he emphasized.

Interesting that the recurring theme I’ve seen in many of my rides with immigrant drivers was the affirmation that their children would do better than them, and the faith they have in their belief. It is a powerful belief, gives rise to formidable work ethics, and it is admirable.

At the end of the ride, Muhammad gave me his number. “You’re a good person. You’ll stay with my family and me in Queens the next time you’re in New York, free of charge” he promised. “This way,” the formerly dour  man added with a grin, “You can meet my doctor daughter.”


About the artist

Alexandra Burda is from Romania and currently lives in Helsinki, Finland. She loves traveling, people, animals, history, emotions and the wonderful world of imagination. If she were not an artist, she would like to work as a scientist, or a professional athlete. Some of her portfolio can be found at