In a viral TikTok video posted in November, 36-year-old comedian Kareem Rahma is shown getting into a New York City taxi and inviting the driver to “take me to your favorite place and keep the meter running.” The driver, Vinnie, suggested a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in College Point, Queens.
The video shows them eating hot wings together, chatting about their lives, returning to the taxi, and taking a detour to an airport. Before the video ends, the comedian is quoted a $427.50 cab fee – which he initially appears shocked to hear, but replies, “Hell yeah brother, the more the merrier.”
The TikTok is part of a weekly series called “Keep The Meter Running,” where Rahma makes the same request to different drivers in New York City, and goes on a tour of their favorite spots. His account, which has over 112,000 followers, has posted 15 times, with each journey split into several parts. As of March, the videos show him being quoted a total of $1,722 for the journeys, and the videos have a combined view-count of over 12.8 million.
Rahma told media outlet, Insider he wanted to create positive internet content that shows how we all have opportunities to connect with strangers, by interviewing taxi drivers from different cultures and learning about their favorite places to spend their time. He said the concept was inspired by an experience he had with a taxi driver two years prior.
“I was going through a really hard time in my life and I didn’t have anyone to talk to, and I got a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn and I started talking to the taxi driver and we really connected on a human level,” explained Rahma, adding the experience gave him the idea for “humane content that’s still comedic.”
Not all taxi drivers are willing to participate, according to Rahma, who said it can take between five and seven drivers before one says yes, but the ones who do agree are very happy to do so, and seem motivated by the experience and not the money.
Rahma told Insider he pays for the taxi ride, as well as any food and activities involved in the trip, with funding from a media company called Mad Realities, which co-produced the series.