At 82, ‘Jack the Hack’ Dym is hanging up his license after serving as a cab driver in New York for 62 years and 2 million miles of driving.
Jack (the Hack) Dym – likely the city’s most veteran cabbie – has traded traffic lines for line dancing, bowling and yoga.
Dym, 82, who got his hack license in 1947 and first picked up passengers in a Packard, has turned in his keys at a Manhattan fleet garage for the last time.
“After 62 years and 2 million miles driving, I’m done driving,” he said. “I’m free. If someone needs me, I can come. If my friends have a party, I can go. If I want to go anywhere, I can go.”
Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus honored Dym with the TLC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and hailed him as the “gold standard” for cabbies: “Aside from being a truly wonderful person, Jack represents the living history of the taxi industry,” Daus said.
Dym was born on the lower East Side to Jewish immigrant parents from Hungary and Poland. His father became a cabbie, as did Dym’s three brothers. After the Packard, Dym, an Army veteran, drove a DeSoto, then a Checker and an array of big Chevrolets and Fords.
His passengers over the decades included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Sharon Stone.
Dym said he’s never had trouble with passengers, but once narrowly escaped a robbery, thanks to his daughter, Eileen.
In the late 1970s, the art student thought passengers might be cheered if her dad gave them her flower drawings. She made a sign that offered a flower and said: “Sit back and relax and enjoy a safe, pleasant ride with my dad, Jack the Hack.”
Dym gave away thousands upon thousands of flowers, he said. One day, two passengers he dropped off on a darkened street told him the sign persuaded them not to rob him.
“‘We were thinking of holding you up,'” he recalled one of the passengers saying, but instead they said they were just not going to pay him.
“‘Lock your doors and get out of the neighborhood before we change our minds,'” one of the crooks snapped.
Dym and his late wife bought a house in Howard Beach, Queens, where they raised four children on his modest income.
He has driven part-time for the past five years, but said he no longer wants to fight traffic.
Dym now tools around in his 1994 Toyota, which he drives to the Queens senior center where he takes yoga and dancing classes. He also likes to bowl.
He summed up his last six decades driving a cab: “I did it because I enjoy people,” he said. “I love people.”