How Much Should One Investment Banker Tip Cabbie Driving Him And A Pal From New York To LA?


A week or so ago, Dan Wuebben woke up at his best bud John Belitsky's apartment. The duo had been celebrating Dan's 31st birthday, and they wanted to keep the party going. "It seemed like everybody was away," Belitsky said. "And I said, 'Let's do something great and fun and serious and magical and bigger than us.' " Order a couple hookers? No. Bigger. Hit up a Color Me Mine? Bigger. See if they could eat six Saltines in 60 seconds? Bigger still. They thought and they thought and they thought some more and then finally, it came to D. Dubs.

Wuebben remembered a tale about estimating the cost of a cross-country cab ride. "That's the ticket," Belitsky said he replied, telling his friend, "Dan, you're the only guy you know who'd do this -- and I'm the only guy you know who would pay for it."

The first cab they got in was totally game, but his dispatcher was not. So Wuebben and Belitsky headed to La Guardia, where Belitz put his investment banking skills to work ("We went to La Guardia, and John brokered the deal," said Wuebben). Driver Mohammed Alam said he'd do it for the love of the road ("I don't care about the money. I came because it's a new thing. Driving is always hard, but I know how to drive."), despite his wife's protests ("First, she was mad," he said. "Now it's OK.") and the trio got down to business.

They set out at 11 p.m. Saturday from La Guardia and reached Chicago Sunday afternoon. They got to Omaha on Monday, Denver on Tuesday, New Mexico on Wednesday, and the Grand Canyon and then Las Vegas, Nev., yesterday.

They're set to arrive in LA sometime today and before Alam heads back to New York (Belitsky and Wuebben have yet to nail down their return plans), one matter that needs settling is the tip, on top of the $5,000 fare. According to Belitsky, his family is known for being quite generous, noting that "Typically, the Belitskys are known for being good tippers." Having said that, he's wavering between maintaing the legacy and being a cheap prick, adding, "I don't know if it applies here." So! Any suggestions? Should Belitsky give Alam at least 50% or should he take a page from Bill Gross's playabook?

[NYP via BI]