Going strong: Archie not the retiring type
Taxi driver Archie Mello began his career in a tiny Austin 10 car in 1952.
Mr Mello is still going strong and yesterday he was honoured for his 66 years of service with a certificate of appreciation from the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
Mr Mello, 88, whose customers over the years have included film star Charlton Heston and the all-star cast of 1977 movie The Deep, said it felt “really wonderful” to be recognised for doing the job he loved.
He told The Royal Gazette: “I got my licence on the steps of where the Hamilton Hotel used to be and bought my own cab in 1960. We started off with Austin 10s, tiny cars, and we got bigger and bigger until now we have the vans.”
Mr Mello came to the celebration at Warwick Workmen’s Club yesterday from Hamilton, where he had been on the job.
He got straight back into his cab after the presentation to continue transporting Bermuda residents and tourists.
He said: “I was going to sell my cab about six years ago, but my wife convinced me not to. She said, ‘If anything happens to you, I’ll have an income, and if anything happens to me, well, you won’t want to be sitting at home alone all day.’
“She passed away almost five years ago now and I’m glad I kept my cab, because it stabilised me.”
Mr Mello explained: “I was able to come out of my home and get myself around other people because it was a huge blow to me when my wife died, my goodness.”
He added: “I have a wonderful son, a wonderful daughter and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Between them and my taxi, they kept me together.”
Mr Mello said he did all the body repairs and mechanical work on his taxi, as well as being on the road seven days a week.
He added: “There’s not too much I can’t fix.”
Mr Mello said the most important part of being a taxi driver was “respect towards the customer”.
He added: “You have to enjoy interacting with people.
“Sometimes people may be rude to you, but I don’t let it bother me.”
Mr Mello said he always welcomed visitors he picked up at the airport and thanked them for choosing Bermuda for their vacation.
He added: “In 1953, I drove Charlton Heston. He made the movie Macbeth. He was staying at the Bermudiana Hotel at that time.
“In those days, we didn’t have radio operators. I was just lucky enough to be the next car in line.”
Mr Mello said: “I worked at Dockyard from April to November during the filming of The Deep as the designated driver for those working on the movie.”
Mr Mello received his certificate of appreciation during the celebration of the third annual cab drivers’ golf tournament fundraiser, where taxi operators compete for gas voucher prizes donated by Rubis.
Part of the fee to play on the Belmont Hills golf course in Warwick is to be donated to charities the Friends of Hospice and Age Concern.
Pat Phillip-Fairn of the BTA told Mr Mello: “We understand how our taxi drivers are ambassadors for Bermuda and the important work you all do, so for someone to have been doing this for over 60 years is just incredible.”
Mr Mello said he had no plans to retire and vowed to work “another 20 years” if he could.
He added: “I will definitely be framing this certificate.”