BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Cab drivers in Buffalo are on edge after one of their own was murdered while on the job. But many say they will continue onward undeterred from making their living.
New York City native, Michael Ferdinand just started driving for Liberty Cab in December. So far, he's never felt in any danger while on the job. But he has listened to the cautionary tales of veteran cabbies, and during training, it was made clear to him that if he ever senses trouble or has an uneasy feeling, it's okay to drop the fare.
"Whether it's a neighborhood, or the people you're picking up, sometimes you might not feel comfortable," Ferdinand said. "And you call the office and tell them, 'I just didn't feel comfortable.' And that's always perfectly fine."
Cabbies are rarely the target of violence in Buffalo. If anything, Ferdinand says, you're more likely to be robbed than shot or physically attacked.
The murder of 55-year-old Mazen Abdallah this week came as a shock to the taxicab community. Thursday, Abdallah's two families - his brothers and his fellow cabbies - came together at a Getzville mosque to grieve.
Frank Bona of Airport Taxi said, "He's being remembered as everybody's best friend. Someone to talk with. Someone to turn to. Someone always to rely on."
Most customers are like that, too, according to Ferdinand - friendly. Nice. They make the job a pleasant and exciting experience.
"I get to interact with the clients, joke with them. They share stories with me. It's like a whole big social network. I love it," Ferdinand said.
He's always aware of his surroundings, but says he doesn't dwell on the risks that go along with his job.
He said, "If I was to worry about that, then I've got to worry about everything else that goes on in life. So no... I don't put any thought to it, no."
Police believe robbery was the motive in Abdallah's killing. It appears he had $75 or $100 cash on him at the time.
Airport Taxi is working closely with Buffalo Police. We're told they have a few strong leads.
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