a tale of two cab drivers

This is a crazy New York Times story about Debind Chhantyal and Pema Sherpa, two New York cab driver colleagues -- both immigrants from Nepal -- whose relationship ended in a sudden, shocking act of violence: Night and Day.

Each man had come from Nepal over the past decade, and attended the same taxi-training school in Jackson Heights. For a year, they had split the $1,400-per-week leasing fee on a yellow cab, trading 12-hour shifts behind the wheel, seven days a week.

Until one September morning when Chhantyal inexplicably attacked Sherpa from behind with a vegetable cleaver, slicing open the back of his head.

Mr. Sherpa, on his back, somehow managed to kick the blade from Chhantyal's hands, sending it skidding under the cab. Bleeding profusely, he ran to a nearby gas station to find help. He spent five days in the hospital, but survived. According to doctors, the cleaver narrowly missed severing nerves and arteries.

Chhantyal got into their cab and drove three minutes to the Robert F. Kennedy bridge, where he pulled over and leaped to his death in the East River. His body was found by the Coast Guard several days later, miles away, near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The attack remains something of a mystery. Family members say Chhantyal had become obsessed with following the political turmoil in Nepal, and was worried about an upcoming asylum hearing, fearing it would result in his deportation.

There was no apparent bad blood between the two men. Sherpa even showed up at Chhantyal's funeral. He has since recovered and returned to work. However, he has not yet chosen a new driving partner. I don't blame him for being careful.

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