President Tinubu recalls his vivid incident as a cab driver: “I accidentally overcharged a naval officer, and he slapped me.”

(Last Updated On: July 4, 2023)


President Bola Tinubu described a memory from his early days as a cab driver in the United States.

This was revealed when he talked about his humble origins in a biography that was published on the back page of a major newspaper and told how a Navy officer had slapped him for unintentionally overcharging him.

‘Tinubu: My Life as a Gypsy Cab Driver in the US’ is a biography written by seasoned journalist Mike Awoyinfa.

According to the story, Tinubu drove illegal taxis in Chicago, Illinois, picking up clients at the airport and taking them to their destinations.

The president claimed that the purpose of the driving job was to provide him with financial support while he was going to school.

His narration;

“We got an unregistered used car commonly called Gypsy, which we ran as a taxi. We operated at the airport where we picked passengers, and not anywhere else, like the hotel because it was forbidden for unlicensed cab drivers to do so.

We did that for a while to raise some money. Bolaji went to Tennessee, while I headed for Chicago.

I was supposed to have started schooling in April. I deferred it till September in order to have more money. Immediately I got to Chicago, I went straight to Richard Daley College. It was very interesting.

I was able to pay for my apartment and tuition fees at Chicago State University. I supplemented that by doing different menial jobs like door guard and security man.

As a cab driver, one experience I will never forget was when I over-charged a naval officer returning to the country. It was not intentional.

Apparently, I didn’t know the direction. There was no GPRS in those days to locate directions. So, he gave me the direction to his house in a Virginia suburb.

I gave him the price and the man responded with a slap to my face. He said I should know the correct price to charge to the location he mentioned. He slapped me and gave me the money.”

Author: Pate Anah

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