Lives Lived - Timothy Robinson Moose Jaw’s Most Colourful Cabbie
By Robert Thomas
The first time I met Timothy Robinson was shortly after he became my Facebook friend when I was writing my column – Rhino’s Ramblings for the now defunct Mose Jaw Times Herald. Tim told me he had a news tip for me, he was insistent I should know something about it.
The was about the issue of unlicensed gypsy cabs or cabs unregistered and unlicensed and how they were not only a possible danger for their passengers but they were also robbing the licensed taxis, couriers and shuttle services in the city from the ability to earn a decent living.
My friendship and viewing Moose Jaw from another side or perspective started that day.
Tim took me into a world which I never knew existed in Moose Jaw. The world he saw as a cab driver in the Friendly City and how that world could often be so much different than what most people could ever imagine.
Tim over the years I knew him would tell me about not just his life as a cab driver but also his life as basically an Air Force brat growing up in Moose Jaw.
He told me of his days working as delivery boy for the Moose Jaw Times Herald and how he loved that extra cash in his pocket and that’s when he was bitten by the entrepreneur bug.
Cash back in the good old days of local news media you just would never make as paper carrier today. It was a very different world where if you had a newspaper route and held it through the long cold winter months you were the richest kid in your elementary school class.
Tim would tell me about his life around Downtown when sneaking into the local pool hall instead of heading to school often led to his being on the run all afternoon so he was not spotted and sent back to class. He was number one on the principal’s truant list at times and went to great lengths to hide out in the local pool halls so he never got caught. Tim was Moose Jaw’s own version of Ferris Buhler.
Tim spoke a lot about his dad – who sadly passed away – and the fun things he had done with him.
I remember Tim talking about his dad being a great woodworker in his retirement and how it was hard when his dad had to give it all up.
Tim told me about going on vacation with his parents and the fun times they had camping and fishing when they lived in Cold Lake, Alberta.
The jobs he took to make a living during his lifetime and “not end up on someone else’s dime” were varied. He drove over million miles as a long haul trucker. He worked at the carnival as a driver and a ride operator. And finally he took the big leap and started his own company which we all know as Ricky’s Rocket.
Tim was now his own boss and with hard work and perseverance he would make it. He was, for better or worse, calling his own shots and despite great odds against him he made it.
One of most important things about Tim he was a business person and entrepreneur always looking to expand and improve his business.
Tim grew Ricky’s Rocket with the little things such as wi-fi for customers, a dedicated child car seat, and his very own VIP club.
Tim was highly outspoken about what he felt were unjustices and wasn’t afraid to express his opinions.
What about the Red Beard? – This was known as Tim’s trademark. The beard which would get snickers and more than a glance from most people when they saw it. Yes, the only place Tim might have a chance of ever blending in was a Yosemite Sam conference.
I once asked him why he had a red beard. He quickly came over to me and gave me his business card. Then Tim told me he had done the same thing a hundreds of times and managed to each time have a ready made introduction about his business.
“Do you know how many clients I got because of that red beard?”, he asked telling me the number was massive. It was his introduction in a world where Tim told me with so many cab companies out there you had to stand out and all I can say is he accomplished that.
Riding with Tim I was told if a client wanted an adventure, Tim would tell his clients some of the good news going around Moose Jaw. He was by far Moose Jaw’s most colourful cab driver both literally and figuratively.
One client even told me riding with Tim was like being with some guy out of a movie.
I did a little thinking and thought about Tim as a young Dustin Hoffman in the movie Midnight Cowboy and the famous line, “Hey! I’m walking here! I’m walking here! with a twist of Judd Hirsch in Taxi and strangely felt Tim could easily have played that part. He was definitely a character in some pulp fiction novel.
Whether you liked Tim or not while he was alive on this earth and after his death even those who had Tim on their bad list, tell me you are not going to miss him.
As a fellow cab driver told me “he was an original”
Rest in peace my friend.