What’s Up South Texas!: Woman inspires others to act on goals through taxi service

Linda Thomas has been driving for other companies for decades but decided to start her own driving company

San Antonio – A San Antonio woman is sharing her passion to help others through driving with her own taxi service.

Linda Renee Thomas, 66, has been driving since she was a little girl.

“My daddy taught me to drive when I was underage,” Thomas said. “My momma didn’t drive and for some reason I was chosen out of five other sisters to be in charge of grocery shopping. From the store to my house, I had to carry groceries and that was during the brown paper bag days. When the bag would get wet, I would be trailing groceries and was like, ‘What am I going to do to get them home!’”

She said that is when she brought the issue to her dad.

“I asked my dad, ‘Please teach me how to drive,’” Thomas said. “My dad set me on his lap, set me on a pillow and then handed me the key and told me where to drop him off and when to come back to pick him up.”

She was 12-years-old at that time. Now, as a 66-year-old woman, she owns and operates her own taxi service.

She started ALRT Taxi two years ago.

“It is my initials and I added an ‘A’ because I wanted it to sound like alert,” Thomas said. “I consider myself to be a pretty alert type of person and that is what you have to be when you are driving! You have to be alert because you just may prevent an accident from happening.”

Thomas was driving for other services before she started her own business including shuttle, limo and other taxi companies.

She found out the hard way that she needed to be in control of her own destiny.

“I was paying to work,” Thomas said. “I had to pay to have keys to those vehicles, even though I am riding, driving, and advertising for them. I had to pay when you can’t pay for your lease, they want the keys and I have been in that position quite a few times. Left on the curb,” she laughed. “I had to turn in the key. I am sitting on the curb with my stuff out the car waiting on a ride. That was the most embarrassing and humiliating thing to say the least.”

Thomas also battled obstacles of being bipolar and having an addiction, but for 25 years, she has been clean and serene.

“Now when I am driving my clients, and if they are struggling with an addiction, it turns into a 12-step-meeting in the car,” She laughed. “I do what I can to motivate them to turn away from those demons.”

Being without a lot at times, Thomas also finds ways to sacrifice for her community.

“I will pick up a little old lady at the bus stop,” Thomas said. “‘Get in!’ ‘I don’t have no money.’ ‘I don’t care get in!’ Anyone with children walking at night. I tell them to get in.”

Thomas said she is also proud reaching her goals in a male-dominated industry.

“We have some taxi drivers that are from countries that don’t allow or believe that females are supposed to be driving,” Thomas said. “I know for a fact I helped change their mind in that aspect.”

Thomas said she hopes her journey inspires others to act on their goals.

“You can have faith all day long, even though it is the size of a mustard seed,” she laughed. “If you not doing nothing, you won’t receive nothing! Do the damn thing!”

More on KSAT:

What’s Up South Texas!: San Antonio man beautifies community with graffiti art

What’s Up South Texas!: Teen to skate over 800 miles across Texas to raise awareness for clean roads

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.