Two weeks ago, while walking into our local food store, I saw an older gentleman sitting at a table in the vestibule. He had numerous books in front of him with the same cover, and when he saw me, he simply said, “Hello, I have written this book. You might like it.”
Having written 14 books myself, I greatly appreciate authors, especially those who do their utmost to sell their novels. He went on to explain it was only twenty dollars, which included tax, and that each copy was signed.
Unfortunately, I did not have any cash on me (I had not carried any since the pandemic started), and I went on my merry way, wishing him luck. The following week, when I entered another grocery store in town, I saw the same gentleman sitting at a table, again filled with his books.
He gave me the same greeting, but this time I had money in my pocket, so I purchased one of his books. The title was intriguing, ‘Memoirs of a Winnipeg Cab Driver’. I thanked him, wished him well and continued on my shopping adventure.
I began reading the book, which is comprised of 150 or so short stories detailing events that have happened to Eddy Proulx, the author, while driving a taxicab for twenty-plus years. Not knowing much about the taxi industry, I found the anecdotes interesting and quite humorous.
Eddy Proulx was born in Kirkland Lake and, upon completion of high school, took a train to Winnipeg. He stayed there and, after working on the railroad for a short while, supplemented his income by driving a cab. It was quite lucrative, and it soon became his full-time career.
The interesting people he interacted with seemed to have made his job fascinating. Not all were simple rides: from the time a woman almost gave birth in his car to the two years he drove a mysterious person to a mysterious destination, with mysterious bags of clothing; from driving drunks on New Year’s Eve to escorting injured people to hospitals.
The book is a light read, and yes, there are a few grammatical errors, but the gist of Eddy’s memoirs makes the reader appreciate what he must have gone through, in a very difficult and thankless industry. Eddy has returned to Ontario and is now retired. He still drives a taxi to supplement his income, and he hopes his books will bring a smile to readers.
If you see Eddy Proulx at a local store selling his book, give him a second look. Who knows, maybe the story of his life will bring a smile to your face. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can search him on Amazon to purchase the book.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.