There are a few esteemed individuals who enter our college lives and make an impact. For some, they are professors or friends. But for some students, it’s taxi drivers. Rez Avd, of All Star Taxi, has changed the lives of many students.

Five years ago, Rez was hired by All Star Taxi. Since then, he has become one of the most popular drivers around. He is to All Star Taxi what Sue is to the College-in-the-Woods dining hall.

His job entails driving around Vestal and the greater Binghamton area by day, taking students to the movies or the bus station. The core of his business, however, comes from his night work.

In the evenings, Rez shuttles students from campus to State Street, before hauling them back at the end of the night. He’s the gatekeeper to a different, more alcoholic reality. Whether you’re headed Downtown, to a frat or even Merlin’s — hey, no judgement — he has your back.

Rez sees a lot of interesting situations on the job, including students getting romantic in the back seats.

“Sometimes they’ll be people trying to hook up in the cab and I’ll say, ‘Listen, this isn’t a hotel,’” Rez said. “And they’ll say sorry and go back to doing it.”

And while some choose to get it on in a cab, others choose to take a nap on the ride home. And if you can’t wake a sleeping student, that really holds business up.

“I need to get other people to wake them up,” Rez said. “They just pass out.”

On some rides back to campus, nausea takes hold of many students. But a good cab driver is always prepared.

“When Thursday comes around, I keep a lot of bags,” he said. “A couple years ago, I had someone puke all over my cab. He cleaned it up and I charged him $100. That’s the standard fee for most cabs. Some kids are criminals though. They puke and run.”

Puke-and-run is a popular taxi sport, as well as puke-and-deny-that-you-puked, in which a drunk kid will sit in a pool of his own vomit until either his fellow passengers smell something or he gets to his stop.

Rez is a silent witness to the world of Downtown Binghamton. He’s seen people throwing up on street corners as well as those who become violent with cab drivers, banging on the cab windows.

“Downtown, the people are wasted you know?” Rez said with a sigh. “And sometimes I have to get the cops involved. One time, four people who hadn’t called me got into the cab and wouldn’t get out. I had to call the police. They just wouldn’t get out.”

This wasn’t the driver’s first run-in with the police while working. Often, the police wait on campus to check all cabs for illegal activity. In these instances, Rez agrees that staying quiet is the best strategy for students, regardless of age.

“Once, a kid handed the cop a fake ID and that was funny and the cop was like, ‘Is this you?’” Rez said. “The kid’s name didn’t match his real name. They took the ID away and the kid got a court date.”

The life of a cab driver isn’t easy, but Rez takes pride in being loved and respected. He loves meeting new people on the job. And whenever the long hours or harsh surroundings take a toll, Rez just remembers that above all, he has made many friends here who will never forget him.

“People know me,” he said. “And I take care of them when they call the cab.”