Nick Aravanis, who owns and drives Dial Cab 170 and has been a Washington hacker for a quarter century, has become the first $100 winner of the city-sponsored capital city cabdriver contest.
His is the first of five such prizes to be awarded this year. Next April, prizes of $2,500, $1,500 and $500 will be awarded for cabdrivers of the year, as selected by points from questionnaires turned in by passengers.
More than 3,000 ballots have been turned in, the announcement said. An aside: Not a single cab I've ridden has contained such ballots.
The contest is being run by the JAM Corp., a public relations firm, as part of the "Washington Is a Capital City" promotional campaign.
Aravanis, 75, began as a part-time cabbie, and now drives full time, a job he finds "perfect . . . I like people, I like to be outdoors."
According to the announcement of his award, Aravanis has driven such people as Bette Davis, Kitty Carlisle, Mickey Rooney, Perry Como, Arlene Francis, Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy. Why, in this town, the latter two were listed last is a puzzlement, but we'll let it go at that.
Last year, one of his customers was so satisfied with Aravanis' service that he bankrolled a trip for the driver to his native Greece.