It’s like one of those riddles. Three people are driving along in a taxi, including the cabbie. It does not pick up anyone else along the way, but when the cab finally does stop, four people get out. How?
Here’s another riddle: When is a taxicab not a taxicab? When it’s a maternity ward, of course.
What a Sunday morning for cabbie Hussein Jassem. One he’ll never forget. Neither will his passengers.
A driver for Hamilton Cab, Hussein was going to pick up a call in his Ford Escape when another call came through on his cell. An emergency. A pregnant woman needed to get to the hospital. It was his sister, Zeinab. And, to cut to the chase, this baby was coming.
“I called (dispatch) and said I had to cancel for an emergency,” Hussein recalls. “That was fine, so I picked up my sister and she sat in the front seat.” Zeinab’s husband, Muneer Mahdi, got in as well.
“I was going to McMaster so the baby can be delivered there and then I hear my sister say, ‘Oh, the head. The head,’ and she is crying and yelling.” He had been driving for only about four minutes.
Hussein was stunned, trying to process all this, and then … “I can’t believe it. I hear a baby crying.”
By this time, he had pulled over into a parking lot at Fennell Avenue and West 5th Street and called 911.
“I said, ‘I have a baby in the cab. He was just born!'” Soon after, an ambulance arrives; police, too.
What a welcome party for little Mujataba (pronounced Mushtaba) Mahdi.
“It was so exciting,” says Zeinab, from her hospital bed at St. Joseph’s. “Very wonderful. It happened right in the car. That’s something.”
She says she called her brother because she knew the baby would come soon, but she never suspected how soon.
“Suddenly, in the car, I couldn’t wait,” she says. “I pushed twice and I could feel the head. So Hussein stopped the car, and I just pushed one more time. That was the fastest baby I ever had.”
Zeinab and Muneer have three other boys at home. Everyone is doing very well. Mujataba came in weighing seven pounds, seven ounces.
Hussein, who has been driving a cab since August, says it will be a great story to tell his nephew when he’s a little older.
As excited as everyone else, Hamilton Cab chair/CEO Jagtar Singh Chahal was the one who alerted The Spectator to the story.
“We can say now, ‘We deliver,'” he jokes. “We do many other deliveries, but now we can say babies, too. This is the first time Hamilton Cab has ever had a baby delivered in one of our taxis,” at least in the 30-plus years he has owned it.
Before that, it was called Yellow Cab and goes back to the 1920s. Jagtar can’t answer for those years, but little Mujataba certainly represents a milestone for the company and he says he couldn’t be more pleased.
Congratulations to all.
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