Jewish Journal


April 25, 2011

The longest cab rid ever…from New York to Los Angeles


What’s worse than wandering through the desert for 40 years? Riding in the backseat of a New York taxi for 6 days while enroute to LA. 

John Belitsky and Dan Wuebben embarked on their own modern day Exodus Belitsky’s father claimed no cabbie would ever drive that far from New York.  Belitsky rustled up some leftover teenage rebellion and set out to prove him wrong. 

Maybe you’re imagining two college kids with no better spring break plans. No, no. Investment banker Belitsky laid out his plan to drive the 3,000 miles west to his English professor buddy Wuebben for $5,000. 

I’m all for road trips and avoiding the hassle of security lines, miniscule middle seats, and flight delays.  But days in the back of a cab doesn’t exactly tip the scales for me in terms of ease and comfort.  For around $1500 less, the pair could have flown first class and arrived in LA within the day. At least they weren’t on the meter, which would have cost an estimated $17,000 according to whdh news Instead, they got a 6-day adventure with cab driver Mohammed Alam, making them a trio of a Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian. 

The deal was that they would leave New York’s La Guardia Airport and stop at Alam’s house before hitting the road.  Why would Alam agree to this trek, especially when waving goodbye to his less than enthusiastic family?  “He saw it as a round trip ticket to wide open spaces he’s always wanted to see. ‘It’s about the record. I want to be a part of the record’ explained the driver.” (whdh news

With visions of a possible Hollywood movie deal and ready to disprove his father, Belitsky arrived in the holy land of LA on Thursday, April 21 after a profitable pit stop in Las Vegas.  The return mode of travel is undecided for the two friends while Alam plans on driving back to NY with a friend. 

Regarding their personal exodus, “Whatever it costs, you can’t buy this,” said Belitsky in Newser.  Suddenly, my 6-hour drive home for Seder seems sadly uneventful.  Then again, six days in the back of a cab? That’s a long time to wander in the desert.

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