This is 100% true and almost 100% incredible.
I left work early tonight, around 6:30. The weather was nice out and I had had enough. I work on W. 39th Street and my wife works on E. 40th St. When I can I grab a cab, we head across town, I pick up my wife in front of her building, then we head uptown to where our apartment is.
Tonight, despite the warm weather, it was hard to find a cab. Then I spotted one across 8th Avenue discharging a passenger at the light on 40th Street. I hustled across the street, negotiated my destination with the cabbie and hopped in, all before the light changed.
We started talking. Talking to cab drivers is one of the great joys of living in New York. You meet people from all over the world and they often have interesting stories to tell.
One of the first things I do when I get into a cab is check the hack license. Licenses are numbered sequentially. A new driver's number today is around 520,000. The other day I had a driver whose number was 318,000. He'd been driving since 1971.
My driver tonight had a 500 number, but he seemed older. I checked his number again and then I noticed his name "Korotzer," his license said.
"Your name is Korotzer?" I asked.
"Yeah. Why do you ask?"
"My wife has an uncle named Korotzer."
"Then we're related," he enthused. "My father always said 'if you ever meet someone named Korotzer, you're related.' There just aren't that many of us. What's your wife's uncle's first name?"
"Joel." I replied.
"I know Joel. He retired from Kaiser, yeah!? And his brother Terry, up north?"
"That's right," I answered.
We stopped to pick up my wife. She and cousin Barry went through their entire family tree.
I gave him a $20 for a $12.90 fare.