DIS­ABLED CAB­BIE USES STICK TO DRIVE

The Star (Jamaica) - - NEWS - AN­DRÉ WIL­LIAMS Staff Re­porter

Lin­ton ‘Stick Man’ Mitchell is not your or­di­nary taxi op­er­a­tor. Although he has been liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity for the past 10 years, his drive to earn a liv­ing could be seen as an in­spi­ra­tion to many.

For years, Mitchell has been driv­ing his un­reg­is­tered cab us­ing a stick, as op­posed to his legs. He said he be­came paral­ysed when he was held up and shot by gun­men in 2008.

Although his op­er­a­tion as a ro­bot driver may not be le­gal, he told THE STAR that his eyes are set on one day be­com­ing a reg­is­tered cab driver.

“I’m dis­abled, but I don’t lose my feet. I still have them. They just don’t func­tion, so I use a stick to op­er­ate my ve­hi­cle. I am a taxi driver, and hav­ing a red plate would be a dream of mine. Trans­port Au­thor­ity of­fer me red plate, but the year car that I have, they say I need some­thing over 2005,” he told THE STAR, not­ing that he cur­rently drives a 2004 Toy­ota Corolla.

GRATE­FUL

He ex­plained that based on his ex­penses, he is un­able to pur­chase a more cur­rent ve­hi­cle.

Still, Mitchell said that he is grate­ful for the le­niency shown to him by the au­thor­i­ties, who from time to time check if his doc­u­ments are up-to-date.

“Trans­port [Au­thor­ity] draw down on me and run through my doc­u­ments. They are good peo­ple. They look at my dis­abil­ity and see how I op­er­ate and en­cour­age me to get le­gal. Dem see me in the street a try and don’t break me down. Dem say yuh have man weh stronger than me out here a give wor­ries,” he said.

With 27 years be­hind the wheel, he stressed that he is good at his job.

“I am a pro­fes­sional at what I do, and my pas­sen­gers can tell you, I do my work well. From Town (down­town Kingston) to Pap­ine, Town to Bar­bican, when them come in my car, I tell them good morn­ing, good evening and thanks when they use my cab. It’s the sim­ple things they like,” Mitchell told THE STAR.

And while his life isn’t per­fect, Mitchell said that he is happy to earn an hon­est bread.

“Me haffi try harder than a man weh have legs to try an achieve some­thing. Af­ter I was shot, I spent six months in bed, be­ing taken care of, then a next year and a half stay­ing in the yard. God help me that me can go inna mi ride and take care of my­self,” he said.

AN­DRE WIL­LIAMS

Lin­ton ‘Stick Man’ Mitchell shows off the stick he uses to drive.

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