By: Garland Davis
In 1992, I left a fast food franchise that was sold to a mainland franchisee chain. They were bringing in their own management teams and there was no place in their organization for me. I had become disillusioned with the pettiness in the civilian corporate world and was not unhappy to move on.
I became sales manager for a now defunct Kona coffee farm and roaster. We sold green and roasted Kona beans throughout the United States and Canada. The job lasted about a year until the owners of the company were charged with fraud and money laundering. It seems they had a mainland branch of the company, unknown to us in Hawaii, that was buying Costa Rican coffee, re-bagging it and marketing it as Kona.
Suddenly I was out of work. I signed on as a contract instructor in the on base program for a local University. I was teaching Micro and Macro Economics and Personnel management to military personnel at the various bases. One evening, I had to have my car towed because of a starter problem. I took a taxi home and was talking about the taxi business with the driver. I liked what he was saying about the flexibility of schedules and the amount of money a driver could make. I wasn’t crazy about teaching and decided to give driving a try.
I went for a physical and studied for the CDL(Taxi) test. Part of the test was an oral exam where an applicant had to correctly answer questions about streets and routes, etc. Took a couple of tries on the oral exam, but in July of ’93 I became a taxi driver. I never looked back and enjoyed the hell out of the next twenty plus years. I eventually ended up starting a taxi leasing company, but that is a story for another time.
Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1993, about four in the morning, I was in Waikiki hoping to get a tourist load to the airport, when a portly gentleman flagged me on the main street through Waikiki. I stopped and waited while he got into the car.
He asked, “Is there someplace we could get breakfast?”
As soon as he spoke, I recognized the voice. I said, “Uncle Buck!” I had John Candy in my cab. I told him there was a Denny’s nearby.
He said, “Let’s go. I’ll buy you breakfast. I hate to eat alone.”
I try to be funny and I enjoy making people laugh. John Candy and I hit it off. I spent a pleasurable two hours with him laughing and joking. He finally told me he had to go to a PR thing. I dropped him at his hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed and treasure that two hours at Denny’s.
I was saddened a few months later when I learned of his death.
A truly funny man.
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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.