Now that’s one sweet ride.
Taxi driver Mansoor Khalid is on a one-man mission to cheer up New Yorkers with a daily dose of candy.
“The New York life is not the easy life,” Khalid, 36, told the Daily News. “People are depressed. I see a lot of people stressed sitting back there.”
Khalid is no stranger to stress. He dubbed his taxi the NYC Candy Cab after his 2-year-old son died in April from a long battle with heart disease.
“I learned a lot of things,” he said of the trauma of losing his child, who underwent two heart transplants and lost a kidney before he passed away. “Life is too short.”
Khalid, who moved to New York from Pakistan in 1993 and has been driving a cab since 1997, had already seen the impact of small acts of generosity. During the two years he spent in the hospital with his son, he routinely brought coffee and desserts to the doctors and nurses when he got off his shift at 1 a.m.
“They got so happy when in the middle of the night I gave every person coffee,” he said. “I was so nice to them and they were so nice to me.”
After his son died, Khalid decided to bring his routine to the people he interacted with every day in his cab.
Khalid said he was inspired to do something sweet after the death of his 2-year-old son.
“I was very depressed, losing my little boy,” he said. “Somehow, God gave me this idea. Now (I’m) chit-chatting and time is flying by!”
Though he doesn’t eat much candy himself — “Skittles, only” — Khalid offers a wide variety of sweets, and has started cataloguing his collection on Instagram. Fans can also follow him on Twitter (@CandyCabNYC), and he may even start a blog for his growing following.
One such fan was thrilled to discover the cab on a late night out last weekend, and quickly spread the word about him through social media.
“We all started freaking out,” said David Weiner, 27. “You don’t see piles of candy like that in adulthood. It’s just one of those things that reminds you you’re in New York and anything can happen.”
And Khalid’s unusual project has the full support of the city.
“We encourage drivers to go the extra mile in the name of customer service, and Mr. Khalid certainly does this,” said Taxi and Limousine Commission boss David Yassky. “We appreciate the loyalty he inspires in his passengers.”
Loyalty isn’t the goal, considering that Khalid responds to every hail, candy or no candy. His mission is to spread warmth.
“It’s a little thing,” he said, “but people get happy.”