SUMMERSIDE – When Joe Arsenault moved to Summerside from Ontario 20 years, he planned to retire.
Having made a living for himself as a cab driver in Toronto, Arsenault said the work is “sort of in you”.
So, he took a job at Courtesy Cab on Spring Street.
For the next two decades, Arsenault got to know the customers and residents around town and became close to the people he worked with.
When the owners of Courtesy Cab decided it was time to sell the business earlier this year, Arsenault didn’t want to see anything happen to his fellow employees, so purchased the business and renamed it United Summerside Taxi Inc.
“That’s the reason I took it over, was so everyone would have a job.”
Myles Doucette, United Summerside Taxi’s manager, is one of the employees Arsenault had in mind.
Doucette has worked at the taxi station for more than 30 years, first as a driver and now as the dispatcher.
The original taxi stand opened in the same location over 40 years ago, and within a year it was bought by Eldon Huestis, who ran it until his death in 2004, at which time his children took it over.
Doucette is pleased he’s able to continue working for the company but admits that when he first heard the family was looking to sell, the news was hard to hear.
“It was the Huestis (family) for so long, working with this family – the mother, the father, the daughters and the son – you kind of get attached with them after that long,” he said. “It was an emotional day for a lot of people.”
Over his many years in the business, Doucette he’s seen a lot of interesting things.
However, when it comes to sharing the details, he is a man of few words.
“I could, but I won’t. We don’t usually tell stories. We don’t like discussing what happens in taxis,” he said. “It’s kind of like you’re a bartender and people tell you their life stories. We just kind of keep that amongst ourselves.”
A little room inside the Spring Street business pays homage to former station employees who have passed away.
“We’re like a family here, we get along quite well,” Doucette said, pausing as he looked over the many photographs of his fallen friends that line the walls. “We miss them.”
Arsenault wants the public to know he has wheelchair accessible vans available, so no one is left behind.
Otherwise, it’s business as usual.
“Business has been good,” Arsenault said. “We didn’t lose any clients, and everybody seems to like the name.”