Friday, September 4, 2015

TERRY

"I could write a book," says taxi driver Terry Austin. There are those callings for which silence is sacrosanct: lawyers, clergy, bartenders. Terry and his cab is one of them!

Born in Burk's Falls, Ontario, a town of just over 1,000 people, Terry' approachability and friendliness are only matched by the size of his enormous blue sedan. He is part of the local history in this area of Ontario. Of his extended family in the Huntsville, Muskoka area, "Oh God, all kinds of them! About 9 generations on my mother's side and 12 generations on my father's side".

A driver off-and-on for the past 15 years, he has seen and heard it all from his front seat. With a warmth and comfort about him, he loves what he does, "I enjoy meeting people and making them laugh," he says of his very public job. Its not always an easy job, "One woman, a while ago, she threw up down the back of my neck! And people coming back from the bars late at night have loose lips. I could write a book!" But of course, it is the code of drivers – silence and tight lips are part of the job. "I could be a multi-millionaire with the stuff I've heard. But I don't say a word"!

TERRY FUN FACT: The town of Huntsville is small, but his fares often extend far away to other parts of the province. "I took a gentleman to Sarnia not long ago. He paid me handsomely, $740," he says of that particular 475 kilometre fare. He has also driven people to Toronto (233 km), Bellville (269 km), New Liskeard (277 km) and Ottawa (342 km). "I enjoy driving. I enjoy the sights. There are still lots of places I haven't been to." With that, the radio crackles to life and he is off to fetch another fare.

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

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