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  • Writer's pictureUlugbek Kasimov

A cabby with compassion

This is our past charitable work in Chapel Hill:

The Chapel Hill Taxi cabs parked neatly in rows in the parking lot on Lloyd Street in Carrboro began running a little over four months ago. But the phrase Ulugbek Kasimov, or Bek, has decided to print on them, A Ride With Us Brings The Future to others reflects an idea that has been brewing for much longer than that.

There are a lot of taxi cabs out there, but we wanted to be just a little bit different, Kasimov said in a good way he added quickly with a smile. Kasimov has been living in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area with his family since he emigrated from Uzbekistan eight years ago. He said he always wanted to give back, and he is finally figured out how: He is donating a dollar to both the Carolina Covenant Program and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools system for every ride with Chapel Hill Taxi, the taxi company he co-owns, which is noteworthy for having cabs outfitted with massage chairs.

I feel like I can make a difference, he said. t may look small at first, but in the long run, it will be a big difference.

His wife received a degree in social work from UNC and his son attends East Chapel Hill High, and he feels grateful for what both schools have done for his family, he said.

That is why he decided to donate to the public school system and UNC's Carolina Covenant Program once a month. Last Friday, Kasimov and presented the first check of $1,000 to the recipients at their new office, a small room in a brick office building beside the train tracks on Lloyd Street. I feel important, Kasimov said. I've met so many beautiful people here, and I thought, I need to give back to this community.

The Carolina Covenant Program allows eligible students from low-income families to attend the university and graduate debt free as long as they meet certain criteria, like working 10 to 12 hours a week at an on-campus work-study job.

Kasimov said he founded his idea on social entrepreneurship: Whereas business entrepreneurs gauge their success on profit, he evaluates his success in terms of the social impact the project will have on the community.

Take a spin in one of Kasimov's taxis and you'll be contributing to another local cause.

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