Taxi Medallion

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

When my mother first immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, she was set on earning her own money. With her basic understanding of English, she took taxi school and started off the streets of Manhattan in a yellow cab. She spent the first few years renting her apartment with three friends, and renting the taxi, and saved what little she could each month. She eventually saved enough to buy a taxi for twenty thousand dollars. For the first time in her life, she legally owned property. After I was born, she rented her taxi to a cab rental company and decided to work a stable job as a manager of an Italian restaurant. As years went by, the value of the taxi medallion rose in price. The medallion’s current price is now worth around a million dollars. Sometimes I talk to my mother about her retirement plan, but she always refuses to sell the medallion. It was not only a source of financial stability for her, it represented the hopes and hard work she put in, and it was the first thing she ever owned in the United States. Some of my mother’s friends who also worked as taxi drivers encouraged her not to buy the taxi, telling her that it was too expensive – but my mother was adamant on her dream to own a piece of New York. And to this day, she still does – New York only allows a certain number of medallions around the city, and my mother is still a proud owner of one. My mother’s medallion represents the immigrant’s dream of rags to riches.

Year: 1985

– Alex Yam

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant