How Sweet It Is: Riding in the Candy Cab
Hop into Mansoor Khalid’s cab, and you’ll quite literally be in for one sweet ride. Khalid is the Willy Wonka of the yellow taxi industry. He fills the back dashboard of his cab with all kinds of sweets – hard candies in the summer, like Skittles and Jolly Ranchers, and chocolates, but, those ONLY in the colder months.
“Because I had a bad experience putting chocolate in the summer...everyone asking me (for) napkins...because they would start melting.”
Khalid’s been driving a taxi since 1997. He launched the Candy Cab a couple of years ago, after his two-and-a-half year old son died from a battle with heart disease. He says when his son was in the hospital he frequently brought the doctors and nurses coffee and desserts. Khalid says that made the hospital staff happy, and in return, it made him happy.
“I got so used to buying coffees and donuts and sweet things. So I was thinking what should I do now? I have to come up with some good idea and I just start(ed) putting a couple of candies and chocolates in the back. Then I see people start(ed) liking it. (They would say) Oh my god, can we have it? I said, guys, as much as you want."
Khalid says he spends between $500 and $600 a month on candy. But, he says the joy it brings his passengers is priceless to him.
A passenger named Maria couldn't believe it when she noticed all the candy sprawled out in the window behind her.
“When I got in the candy cab I noticed a piece of candy on the seat", Maria said. "I thought someone must have left this behind and then I looked behind me and I saw like a Jack O'Lantern threw up in the back seat with the amount of candy back here.”
Free candy isn’t the only benefit of riding with Khalid. You can also play your own music and do karaoke through his souped-up sound system. Khalid provides the microphones. And to add even more to the experience, his taxi’s equipped with disco lights.
Since Khalid launched the Candy Cab, he doesn't only pick up street hails, he also allows people to reserve rides on the phone and online. In fact, Khalid is somewhat of an internet sensation. He has thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Khalid uses social media to post photos of smiling passengers with fists full of candy, as well as videos of people shouting out their favorite songs.
"I just tell people, I say, guys, whatever life (you have) left, enjoy, because nobody lives forever," Khalid said.
A saying posted on the window partition of Khalid's taxi reads "live well, laugh often, love much."