Taxi drivers in the belly of NYC multicultural Babylon, Uber competition, middle age, stress, debt, anti-depressants, suicide and fewer customers

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“NEW YORK — Both men were longtime taxi drivers from Romania. Both were worried about paying their bills as Uber decimated their industry. They were best friends. And both had struggled with depression.

Nicanor Ochisor’s wife dragged him to a doctor in March to get help. Two days later, he hanged himself in his garage.

“I didn’t know he was so depressed,” his friend, Nicolae Hent, said.

Hent had taken antidepressants. He wished he could have told Ochisor that it would get better.

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“I didn’t know. I still feel bad even now — why I didn’t know that,” Hent said recently as he drove his taxi through Queens.

Ochisor was one of six professional drivers to die by suicide in New York in the last year — a crisis that has prompted a flurry of legislation to address the despair plaguing the industry. Most were men in their 50s and 60s anguished about their finances and feeling hopeless about being able to retire.

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Many taxi drivers are under incredible stress, but Ochisor’s story shows how difficult it can be to convince those with severe depression to talk about it. Life behind the wheel of a taxi can be solitary and the job tends to attract independent-minded people who might not feel comfortable talking about emotions that can carry a stigma.”


h/t ChivalryKnight


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