Actor Joseph Benjamin recounts struggles as taxi driver in US

Joseph benjamin

By Victoria Oluwayemi

Renowned Nollywood actor, model, and singer, Joseph Benjamin, recently shared a poignant account of his uphill battle while trying to establish himself in the United States.

In a candid conversation with Teju Babyface Oyelakin, he revealed that his American venture took an unexpected turn, leading him to take up an unexpected role as a taxi driver to make ends meet.

Benjamin, who had high hopes upon relocating to the US in 2016, disclosed that he was left in the lurch after promised movie opportunities fell through. The promising gigs he had anticipated quickly turned into disappointment, forcing him to reassess his options.

The setback was exacerbated when the individual who had initially extended the opportunity to him not only reneged on the promise but also insisted that he start covering the bills for the house he was staying in, considering his financial constraints.

This challenging situation left him with no choice but to explore unconventional means to sustain himself, ultimately leading him to become a driver for ride-hailing services like Uber.

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Recalling the trying times, Benjamin shared, “I got to America on a promise that I had some gigs waiting for me. So I thought I was going to have a soft landing there. I packed everything from Nigeria, bought a one-way ticket, and came to America. I was put in a well-furnished house and all of that.

“Then two days later, the person who I was supposed to book a deal with said to me, ‘Those our financiers have pulled out. They have an issue.’ So, I said, what do I do? He was like, ‘From next month on, you will have to start paying rent in this house.’ The amount of the one-month rent was equivalent to a one-year rent in Nigeria.”

Determined to navigate the unforeseen challenges, Benjamin turned to his faith and community for support.

Through connections at his church, he was eventually provided with a car and the suggestion to work as a driver for ride-sharing platforms. This marked the beginning of his time as an Uber and Lyft driver, a role he took on wholeheartedly to keep afloat.

In addition to his role as a taxi driver, Benjamin recounted engaging in a series of odd jobs, including working in cold storage at Publix and delivering packages using Amazon trucks.

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