Eat your heart out, Travis Bickle

Meet Linda Randolph. Her resume is impressive.

Public health pediatrician. Graduated from Howard University College of Medicine and the School of Public Health in Berkeley, California. She is president and CEO of Developing Families Center, Inc., a non-profit in Washington D.C. that serves low-income women of child-bearing and child-rearing age and their families. She has been recognized for her sensitivity and commitment to the complex needs of poor women, especially those of color. She’s been doing this sort of work for years — three decades to be exact.

I had the privilege of sitting next to her at dinner one night last week at the America Healing conference, sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation. Randolph nibbled on a slice of prime rib and mashed potatoes. Somehow the conversation migrated from maternal outcomes to the day that Randolph will retire.

Linda Randolph and I had dinner together at a racial healing conference last week.
Linda Randolph and I had dinner together at a conference.


“What will you do?” I asked. “Will you stay in Washington?”

Randolph is a native of D.C.

I wasn’t expecting the answer I got.

“I’m going to move to New York and drive a taxi.”

Whoah. Seriously?

Randolph said there were few women who drove taxis in NYC. She wants another cabbie to glance her way and take a good look when she’s behind the wheel of a yellow cab.

And she’s gonna make sure it’s a taxi with manual transmission.

She loves to drive stick-shift. More than 40 years ago, when she was still young and impressionable, Randolph drove from New York to San Francisco with a friend. He was from Costa Rica and had never shifted gears. But never mind that. They took turns at the wheel: 4 hours each. They drove like the wind and made it to the Pacific in 3 and 1/2 days.

So that’s what Randolph looks forward to. Out performing badass cabbies in the city known for them. I guessed her cabbie days were fast approaching. But how long would she work as a driver? She’s 72 now. Didn’t she want a few years of rest and relaxation?

Well, she said, her mama lived to see 99.

“When she died, she didn’t have a wrinkle on her face.”

Here’s to you, Dr. Linda Randolph, full of life and and now a source of inspiration for me. Here’s to you and many good years as a taxi driver.

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