Hey, Taxi! Take Me To Arizona
A French police officer stands guard outside the Syrian embassy in Paris Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Governments around the world expelled ambassadors and top Syrian diplomats Tuesday in an unusually coordinated blow to Syria's leaders, after a particularly gruesome massacre in which the United Nations says families, including children, were shot at close range in their homes. Cranking up the pressure on increasingly isolated Syrian President Bashar Assad, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said they were kicking out Syria's ambassadors in their countries. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon) / Jacques Brinon
Their solution: "Hey, cabbie."
They met taxi driver Douglas Guldeniz when they hailed his cab after a shopping trip several weeks ago.
They got to talking about their upcoming move, and "we said 'Do you want to come?'" said Bob Matas, 72, a former audio and video engineer for advertising agencies. "And he said 'Sure.'"
It was initially a gag, Matas said, but as they talked over the ensuing weeks it became reality.
They plan to leave Tuesday on the 2,400-mile trip to Sedona, Ariz., with Guldeniz driving his yellow SUV cab 10 hours a day for a flat fee of $3,000, plus gas, meals and lodging.
They're getting a break. The standard, metered fare would be about $5,000 each way, according to David Pollack, executive director of the Committee for Taxi Safety, a drivers' group. But city Taxi and Limousine Commission rules direct drivers and passengers to negotiate a flat fare for trips outside the city and a few suburban areas.
It's also a good deal for Guldeniz.
"This job is not easy, and I want to do something different," said Guldeniz, 45, who has been driving a taxi for two years. "I want to have some good memories."
The Matases will ride in relaxed comfort in Guldeniz's sport utility vehicle while their cats ride in the back in their travel cases. A mover will haul their belongings.
"It's a little unusual, but it will be fun," said Betty Matas, 71, a retired executive administrative assistant.
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