I was dreaming to come to the U.S. 27 years ago, while still a college student in Bangladesh. From 1990 to 2006, I applied every year to the Diversity Visa Lottery System until finally being granted immigration status along with my two kids. Today, the oldest one is at NYU, studying to be an engineer. As a former Botany professor, I am very proud and teach him about respect and care for the environment.

As a Yellow Taxi cab driver, I often think of how the city streets are designed, traffic flow, and how these things might be improved. While taking passengers from one place to another, I like to introduce myself to everybody and strike up conversations. The interested customers ask me about where I’m from and I tell them about my journey.

Expenses are high but being a union member of NYTWA helps me fight for better rights on the job, earnings, and a better life—the reasons I came to this country. Recently, I had open-heart surgery and had to return to driving part-time only 3 months later to make ends meet. Next year, the first Benefits Fund for taxi drivers will provide disability insurance to those like myself who become sick and temporarily cannot work.