Leaving the Darkness
Fifteen years ago, Fausto fell into a deep depression. He was having trouble eating, sleeping, and taking care of himself. At the time, he was working at a company in Manhattan that parked cars. Fausto would often work overnight shifts in the basement garage, and the long hours and constant isolation was wearing on him. “I would be by myself all night long – it felt like working in a cemetery.” Eventually, unable to handle it any longer, Fausto quit.
Seeing the state Fausto was in, a friend suggested he try driving professionally. Fausto was curious but hesitant about the idea, since he had no prior experience driving others. His friend, who was a taxi driver at the time, assured Fausto he would be fine and let him borrow his car. Within five minutes, Fausto had picked up his first customer. Around six months later, Fausto bought his first car and began driving full time. The affect of his new profession on his spirit was nearly immediate. “My depression went away, and that was that.”
Keeping an Open Mind
The environment of Fausto’s new business, JFR Transportation Corp., was miles away from the dark, empty basement garage he had once worked in. Fausto was meeting new people every day, making connections with them, and sharing stories. Many of Fausto’s customers remain with him for years, giving him the opportunity to get to know them, to learn from them, and to build relationships with them. “It’s a great feeling knowing that my clients trust me.”
While the diverse range of clients Fausto has is often the best part of his profession, it can also pose as a huge challenge. “Dealing with people isn’t easy. In this business, you’ll find everyone – all kinds of people – good people, bad people.” Fausto has had clients who have picked fights and clients who have left without paying. Yet after 15 years in the profession, Fausto has grown substantially, and his open-minded perspective has prepared him for anything. “I’ve learned how to speak with people better. I have more patience, I’ve learned to be calm, and to have respect for everyone.”
The Road Ahead
With the rise of Uber, business had slowed slightly for Fausto. Needing some temporary support, he turned to his banker at TD Bank, who connected him with Accion. With the loan Fausto received from Accion, he was able to make payments on his car and see through the difficult time.
“This job is unpredictable – there are always a lot of obstacles,” Fausto explained. Yet after 15 years, Fausto’s car service is going strong, and not without reason. It is his appreciation for each one of his clients, his ability to connect with them, and to create valued relationships, that allow him to stand out on a busy highway. “In New York, there will always be a need for a car service like mine. People always want someone they can trust.”