Writers: Dario Orríco, Víctor Suárez
Photography: Dario Orrico
-You should go to Mexico.
-Yea, yea, Dad. Sure.
-There is this sleepy town called Cabo San Lucas.
–Where even is that!?
I’ve seen my share of violence, overdoses, and everything else related to growing up in the drug-infested ghettos of the San Francisco Bay area. I ended up where many people do, with my life going nowhere, stuck in 8 to 5 work, paying rent, kids, ex-wife alimony, child support, mortgages, and on and on. Now on my second divorce, I started to think of my dad –may he RIP– of what he had told me when I was just a young boy. “Go to Mexico, start your business, find your mind and make peace with yourself, everything else will fall into place”.
A smart old man
I made it to Mexico, started living in Nogales Sonora, a border town neighboring Arizona. First it was nice just minding my own business, started a trucking company, life was looking up finally.
Then the Mexican government declared war on drugs. WOW is all I will say on that. After growing up in drug-infested streets and living in a war on drugs. This was worse.
Remembering my dad saying “Cabo San Lucas”, I sold my trucks, paid my debts, packed up my things, and off I went to Cabo. No job, 500 pesos in my pocket, and looking for a room to sleep in, I went to McDonald’s. There was an old man with his granddaughter overhearing me. He came up to me —I am sorry to overhear your conversation but If you like you can come to see the rooms I have for rent. I know you just arrived, and I am sure you are short of cash, you do not need to pay me anything until you get on your feet and find a job—.
The old man must have heard my English accent, in his mind he probably said —This gringo will find a job in no time—. Haha! He was a smart old man, and I’ll forever be in debt to him.
Holes in my shoes
I worked in a timeshare. Only lasted 3 months because I don’t like lying to people. I’ve always been trying to be truthful. I left that and went to work for Nestle selling chocolates. I was the best salesman in the world. Nestle loved me, I sold so many chocolates to little convenience stores called Abarrotes. I went from Abarrote to Abarrote until I had holes in my shoes.
<<Yo hablo español. No es perfecto, pero hablo español.>>
-I speak Spanish, it’s not perfect, but I speak Spanish.
<<Pero yo no más mire en el peridico que estaban buscando. Ahí apliqué y me marcaron y de ahí en adelante, fucking vamonos.>>
-I applied to a new paper ad for the job at Nestle, they called me back, “fucking vamonos”
<<Caminando. No tenía carro, no tenía nada.>>
-I walked, I didn’t have no car, no nothing.
I walked and walked until I had whole in my shoes. I used to take a big suitcase to Soriana, (a Mexican Walmart). I don’t like carrying plastic bags so I’d put all my groceries in a suitcase like I’m going somewhere. <<Me voy de viaje>> with my suitcase full of groceries. I either had the money for the taxis or money for the cigarettes. I chose the cigarettes. I’ll walk with my suitcase up the hill. All the way up.
Keep your head up.
I was making good money at Nestle, but they were closing the area where I was at. I went to work for a transportation company as a reservation agent, answering chats and emails. This guy had been in business for 10 years, he comes to me, pats me on the back. He pays me nothing, treats me badly, pats me on the back, and says:
“I’ve been in business for ten years, I’ve never had so many sales”
And I’m thinking:
“Hey, fucking, –in Spanish–, ‘mochate wey’.”
But in reality: “Give me a raise, no?” I didn’t say nothing. I thought it would come out on its own, but it didn’t. It never did.
I started thinking one day I said if I can do this for him, why can’t I do this for me?
So I had someone make me a website, put it online, real simple; I had already thought of quitting that place and looking for another job. Some time passed, I’m going out the door to look for a job and I go:
“oh yeah, the website, let me check my email to see if I have any reservations”
When I opened up the email it was full of reservations, I had work right there in my home! I didn’t have any cars. I just had a website. That’s how it started, a ton of reservations started coming in, I would clear it all out and have my email full again the next morning. The site was doing really well. So I didn’t go nowhere, I looked for a job nowhere. This was my job.
What makes Cabo Shuttles different?
We’re always available.
We will make ourselves available, We will reroute a vehicle to cover that service.
We will never say no to anyone. We will find a way to make this service happen. Because it’s part of our customer service. It’s part of the business.
Call one hour before you need to go and we guarantee we’ll be there on time.
That’s our customer service.
That’s what we’re about.
My drivers are just immaculate, just good, handpicked for the job, and always available.
They have to speak English, and they have to be from Cabo San Lucas. If a client needs to be picked up at 3 am, 4 am, 5 am; I guarantee you that client will be picked up. My drivers are on call 24hrs a day. And that separates us from the competition. The private shuttle service can cover a single customer or go up to 300 people, we find a way. We’ve done it.
Why not Uber?
I’m not against Uber. We’re just the safer option.
Uber hires anybody, no background check. If you have a car, go, you’re an Uber driver. I’m not against them; I just don’t use them anymore. When I travel I use a taxi because the drivers are vetted, the taxi companies vet their employees. They have all the information regarding their drivers.
I don’t use Uber anymore, for the security of my family and myself.
It was rough starting all over again at the age of 42. But then you walk in Los Cabo and you hear “Buenos Dias”, the good mornings that everyone you pass on the streets says. I couldn’t believe people were saying good morning to me, a stranger looking for a job. It is now 20 years later, and I still hear and feel the hospitality. Would not live anywhere else.
It took me more than half of my lifetime to find that peace and of all places, it was Cabo San Lucas! Ha! Where is that place again DAD!? I love you and miss you, your wise words were the best advice, the best move I ever made!
My wife and I have traveled everywhere. We’ve traveled around Europe, South America, and The United States. We’ve been to a lot of places but Cabo is my home. This is where I’ll live my days and where I want to rest. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll travel everywhere, but I’m coming back.
It’s my beautiful Los Cabos.