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al orner C S pring 2013 Volume 8 No.1 An Individualized Instruction, Journalism III Project, California University of Pennsylvania Cabbie on the ride of his life By Scott Traverso It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday. While most college students are getting ready to enjoy themselves after a long week of class, Rian Zarko is just getting to work. Zarko, a 25-year-old junior at California University of Pennsylvania, is not the typical college student. Rather than relaxing after a long day in class, Zarko switches from student to cab driver to begin a long night. Zarko is a cab driver for Pittsburgh Yellow Cab, a job one would not expect a college student to have. Before being a cab driver, Zarko had just about every job one would think a college student would have. “Stock clerk, gas station attendant, cook, server, and bartender -- I did it all,” Zarko said. An injury led him to Yellow Cab, and the job has worked out quite well, he said. In spring of 2011, Zarko tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at a Cal U intramural basketball game. The injury required surgery. For most athletes, rehab for an ACL injury is close to a year. Forced to find work that had him off his feet, Zarko became a freelance cab driver for his friends when they went to the bar or anywhere around town. Eventually, a friend directed him to making his business official and got him a job with Yellow Cab. The ins and outs of the cab business were easy to grasp for Zarko. Now, his routine on the weekend is set in stone. He picks up the cab between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., drives the business crowd around, then moves on to the dinner crowd. The rest of the night is dedicated to college students and young adults in the Oakland, Southside, and Mt. Washington areas. “You can take a 12-hour lease, 24-hour lease, or weekend lease on a cab and after you make back your lease, the rest of the money is yours to keep,” Zarko said. “On any given weekend, I can make an easy $500.” Along with the money, the schedule is another thing that Zarko said he enjoys about driving a cab. Photo by Scott Traverso Rian Zarko helps pay for school by driving a taxi. He only has to take the cab out once a month to retain his status as a Yellow Cab employee, so it works around his schedule for being a full-time college student. The schedule allows him to work whenever he wants and basically have a business to himself. “If I make a Facebook status saying I have the cab for the night, my phone is ringing nonstop,” Zarko said. “I don’t even have to take calls that get sent from Yellow Cab. My friends and regulars know I can pick them up or if need be, I can pick up people on East Carson Street. There is more than enough business down there every Friday and Saturday,” he said. Although the cab business has been good to him, Zarko has bigger plans for his future. Zarko is a secondary education social studies major, and he is looking forward to student teaching in the fall of 2013. After he graduates, Zarko is looking to get a teaching job around the Pittsburgh area. “Being from the North Side of Pittsburgh, I saw a lot of kids get ignored and left behind and that’s not acceptable to me,” Zarko said. “I spent lots of time at Heinz House when I was young, and it’s a safe place for kids to go after school and stay off the streets,” he said. “It really influenced me in my decision to go into education and help those kids while they’re still in school,” he said. Zarko said he knows getting a teaching job right out of school isn’t a guarantee and that the cab job is a good back-up plan. He said, at first, if he’s just substitute-teaching on and off, he can keep working for Yellow Cab on See “Cabbie,” Page 4 Inside * Page 2: * Plumber soldiers on * Page 3: * Student enjoys computers, duct work * Page 5: * Writing’s on tap for student bartender * Page 6: * Tires make student’s life go ‘round * Page 7: * Owner does his own thing at garage * Page 8: * Cal is painters’ palette * Page 9: * Artist specializes in ‘steampunk’ * Page 10: * Football player eyes pro end zone * Page 10: * Student’s skill is in the cards * Page 11: * Seamstress sews up her future * Page 12: * Cal Corner staff

Cal Corner Spring 2013

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