Fritz Celestin, 61

Eighth Ave between 34th and 35th Sts.

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Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

Where are you from? Haiti. I've been in New York for 39 years and I've been driving a cab for 26 years.

I bet you've had to endure some craziness in the back of your cab. Never. I don't think anyone try to be crazy with me. If they try, I give them a dirty look and they don't want to mess with me. [Laughs] But I drive mostly in the day, so it's lots of kids. And I'm a family man, so I treat them good.

What's your family like? I have seven kids. Four girls, three boys.

Wow. Why so many kids? Because I love what God give me.

Are you done now? I don't know, that's up to God. I'm not gonna control God. Whatever he give me I open my arms.

But God makes some pretty weird decisions sometimes. How 'bout that earthquake? Well, let me tell you something. The Haitian people say, "Why it have to be in Haiti?" But the world belong to God. God give us a place to live but we do lots of crazy things. When God put his foot down, when he say enough is enough, now we cry like a baby. We believe in logic, but we don't believe in God? He's the only one who has the power.

So that's how you're processing the tragedy? You know, I feel really sorry for what happened. But I feel really good with the community international, especially U.S. They give us hope. They open the country for anybody to come. And I love them and I wish the U.S. all the best. God bless the flag.

That's some serious patriotism. [Laughs] I know.

More from Fritz

"I'm the first person to tie the scarf like this. You can go all over; nobody did it like this. I tied it like a tie, but it's not a tie, it's a scarf."

"New York is very good. It change people. New York is a washing machine. If your inside is dirty, New York will wash you."

"Seat belt? I don't wear no seat belt. For me, as a cab driver, I don't think seat belts save life. And I tell you a very good example: You have an accident, you lose control. You don't know where you are. And the cab, it turns out to be on fire, right? If you don't have a seat belt, you look for the door and get out. When you have a seat belt, you don't know where to pull the seat belt out. I never had an accident. Thank God for that. The taxi limousine [company] should pay me for that. All the cab drivers, they have accident, and never me. I try my best."

 

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