Ode to Roberto Esteban Perez Luna taxi driver and friend

June 29, 2016 · Santiago, Chile ·

While in Football/soccer the objective is a goooooooooooaaaaaaaallll, for me as a traveler the objective is to gooooooooooo from one place to the other, with the least cost and hassle.

This week Chile won the Americas Cup, and selected their Man of the Match.

This week I won the battle of the foreigner v taxi driver match, and have named my Man of the Match.

Roberto Esteban Perez Luna, taxi driver extraordinaire. We went to dinner, dancing and even the hospital together, and finished with an affordable and timely drive to the airport and my next destination.

After surviving the gauntlet of taxi drivers at the airport on my night of arrival: it was time for me to go forth and be a tourist.

This night I was going out for a decadent dinner and taxi was the only way to get there and back. My hotel contacted a taxi company and the driver was there at the appointedtime and a flat fee was agreed upon. Good no hassles.

Now the driver did not speak English, I have very limited Spanish, but as we drove I realized he was offering to collect me after dinner, which for me was a good idea, since I would not have call, speak Spanish and wait for another taxi. In my best Spanish I said Nueva or something like that. And all was agreed as far as I could tell. As it turns out, I was not out from dinner until 9:30, my driver was not there but he had a friend waiting for me and all went well. Roberto had made sure I was taken care of.

The next night with Roberto’s business card in hand I had reception organize pick up and return times, as I went to a traditional dinner dance show. Roberto was on time on both sides of the event and again no hassle with price or time.

There was no arrangement for any taxi ride the next day, because I would be on a coastal tour. But on that tour I fell and injured myself. The tour guide asked if there was anyone who could take me to the hospital and I asked them to contact Roberto to meet me at the hotel and to take me to the hospital.

When the tour bus arrived Roberto was there and off to the hospital we went, but unlike other nights where he waited outside until the event was over, he went inside with me. As I was going through intake, he looked quite worried, so I hobbled over and gave him my camera so he could look at my pictures of the day, while I got medical attention.

After intake, I needed to wait to be called to be seen, and during this time Roberto and I exchanged Facebook info. When he started looking at my postings, he got very excited, and asked where I would be going next and I shared with him I would be going to the Olympics and a Safari. This generated a nice energy for him.

My name was called, I left him behind to get checked out by the doctor. I met with the coordinating Nurse, and the Doctor, x-rays were taken and all was I had suspected, sprained ankle, sprained finger and two stitches on the eyebrow.

As the doctor and staff nurse were finishing fixing me up, Roberto walked into the room. I asked if it was okay to take a picture? The Doctor and nurse stood to pose and Roberto looked embarrassed and went to walk out, I told him no he could stay. He stood their proudly with the Doctor and Nurse all pleased they could help me.

Roberto then went with me to the accounting department to make sure all was taken care of and I got my passport back, as the ladies posed for photo also.

Roberto got me back to the hotel, propped me up so I could make it to my room, and wished me well.

Now having his Facebook, I sent him my flight details, and this morning he was there making sure they woke me up and I got off on time. And once at the airport he tried to charge me half the going price. This was not acceptable to me and I paid him the right price.

The hospital visit with x-rays, braces, stiches and all $234

The time with Roberto priceless.

If any of you ever travel to Santiago Chile, and want to be treated fairly, respectfully and timely, then Roberto Esteban Perez Luna is your man. To contact him just add him as a friend from Facebook account and he will be there for you.

Tell him Brent/Brendan the Olympic/Safari guy sent you and you will have a friend the whole time you are in Santiago and beyond.

He is one of those great sincere, hard working, caring, modest guys; do yourself a favor and meet him some day, you (like I) will be glad you did.

I also hope Luciano K, hotel will do the same and make them their go to taxi man.


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