The Most Interesting Cab Driver in Havana | Autoblog in Cuba

From life as a government doctor to driving a Ford Model A.

Havana. It's more than a bit surreal to be in this city. Geographically, Cuba is one of the United States' closest neighbors, only a short plane ride from Miami. It's an island that is home to a culturally rich people. But until recently, it was all but forbidden for Americans.

Before I arrived I learned of a woman named Nelys Navas from our guide, Peter. He first met Nelys months prior on a previous trip, and he told me I had to meet her. He mentioned that she used to be a doctor in Cuba, working for the government for very little pay. After saving what she could, she restored her father's Model A, quit her job, and started her own taxi business, driving tourists around Havana.

This was the story I came to Cuba for. The only problem was in the last few months Peter had lost contact with Nelys. But I desperately wanted to film her story, so we flew down to Havana to shoot for Autoblog, with only a name and a photo of her standing next to her Model A.

After five days of filming Soviet-era taxis, Frankensteined classic American cars, and the picturesque Cuban countryside, I had given up hope we would find Nelys. I would never hear her story. Then one night after dinner we were walking in Old Havana, and Peter spotted a familiar leaf-green Model A across the street.

Watch the video above to see Nelys tell her unbelievable story.

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