The cabbie beat up by thugs dressed as Super Mario Brothers spoke out about his ordeal Sunday and demanded tougher laws against assaults on taxi drivers.
“I was really scared….At the time, I really think I’m going to die,” said Ndiaye Serigne, 48, of Harlem, who was robbed and pummeled by four men dressed as Mario, Luigi and other characters at a gas station.
“We want more protection.”
Serigne said he picked up the group in Gramercy around 3:30 a.m. on Halloween night. Trouble started soon after he crossed the Verrazano Bridge.
“Now it’s a free ride,” one passenger said as he reached over and turned off Serigne’s meter. Then he reached into the cabbie’s pocket and grabbed $210.
“I knew this trip was going to end up so bad,” Serigne said. “I know that people already lost their life for this kind of thing.”
He refused an order to pull over on a deserted street and instead pulled into a Staten Island gas station to get help, getting out of the car to call cops from his cell phone.
“They started attacking me,” he said. “They threw me on the ground. … They punch me and they kick me.”
Serigne said they threatened to kill him. The attack was caught on surveillance video, but police have made no arrests.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) said he would introduce a bill to make it a felony to assault a cab driver. It’s already a felony to assault an on-duty transit worker.
Serigne said he still has pain in his jaw, but went back to driving after three days off. He hasn’t told his wife and three children back in Senegal.
“I don’t want my family to see this because …they’re going to be more worried,” he said. “I’m a little scared, but it’s part of my job.”
With Jonathan Lemire