Medellin is a vibrant city brimming with stories and colorful characters; one of these is Uriel Zuluaga, a 58-year-old taxi driver who has made a difference on the city streets for the past 15 years. However, this holiday season, his work goes beyond transporting passengers from one point to another; he has become Santa Claus on wheels, spreading joy and holiday spirit everywhere he travels.
Uriel’s story is as unique as his service. After surviving a traffic accident that nearly took his life, he had a revelatory dream where he saw a taxi transformed into a themed bar shop. Upon waking, his first question was about that imagined taxi.
An Icon of Medellin
Thus began his peculiar concept of a ‘themed bar shop taxi’, turning each trip into a unique experience. Uriel doesn’t just provide transportation; he transforms his vehicle into a space of fun and kindness. He sells candies, gums, chips, and for adults, a variety of liquors. But his true passion lies in making his taxi passengers feel good.
This extraordinary taxi driver not only thinks about his business but also has a generous heart. He carries fruits to give to unfortunate children living on the streets. His acts of kindness and charity demonstrate his desire to bring joy to every corner of the city.
Beyond being a livelihood, his taxi is an symbol of Medellin. During every festival or significant event, Uriel transforms his vehicle to reflect the occasion.
Medellin’s Christmas Taxi Driver
During the Flower Festival, his taxi becomes an adorned ‘silleta’, while for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, he adopted football-themed decor, decorating his vehicle with symbols and football flags. During this Christmas season, he is dressing up as Santa Claus, bringing magic to Medellin’s streets.
“Taxi service must not lose people’s trust,” he says determinedly. For him, every service is valuable, and every destination deserves respect. While playing Christmas carols and greeting passersby, he aims to connect with people, seeking that kind and warm gesture that lights up the eyes of those who see him pass by.
Uriel Zuluaga is more than a taxi driver; he has become an icon on Medellin’s streets. His unique approach and commitment to joy and kindness have turned his rides into memorable experiences. With every turn of his wheels, he carries not only passengers but also the hope and happiness that illuminate the Christmas season in the city.