The cab driver seen on surveillance video getting pummeled on Halloween by two men costumed as Super Mario Brothers spoke out about his ordeal at a rally for taxi driver safety yesterday. Senegalese immigrant Ndiaye Serigne, 48, told reporters, "I was really scared....At the time, I really think I'm going to die." Serigne says he was driving four costumed men back to Staten Island around 4 a.m. on November 1st when one turned off the meter, reached into his pocket, and grabbed $210. "Now it's a free ride," the suspect said.
Serigne says he refused to pull over on a deserted street, and instead drove to a Staten Island gas station and tried to call for help. The video shows two men dressed as Mario and Luigi beating Serigne as other costumed men look on, and he claims the men threatened to kill him. Serigne still has pain in his jaw, but he hasn't shared the news with his wife and three children back in Senegal, telling the Daily News, "I don't want my family to see this because... they're going to be more worried. I'm a little scared, but it's part of my job."
Police have made no arrests in the incident. Cab drivers at yesterday's rally demanded tougher laws against assaults on taxi drivers; hack Zawar Jaffri, who lost an eye after he was maced by a passenger trying to skip out on a fare, told Channel 11, "The public has no fear to do anything against us. They think we are alone. At least if we had a sticker saying a crime against the driver is a felony up to seven years in jail, right next to the passenger bill of rights, they would know that the driver is also equal human being." Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) has promised to introduce a bill making it a felony to assault a cab driver.