Best Driving Instructor (2006)

Victor, from A International Driving School

What with the horrendous traffic, the endless construction on major roadways, and our immigrant-heavy population, driving in the Magic City can be a decidedly dangerous experience. If only more people learned from Victor Montalvo, owner and head instructor of A International Driving School. With the kind of patience that can be accrued only with more than 30 years of teaching, he ventures onto Miami's most chaotic roads every day, gently coaxing terrified students into the fast lane. Most of his clients are teenagers, who can sometimes be impatient with the slow-paced instructions of a 62-year-old man. Victor does some of his best work with the older adult pupils, whose fear of the road is a much more serious impediment. "My oldest student was a lady who was 74 years old," he says in a thick Ecuadorian accent. "She never drove before because she used to live in New York. When her husband passed away, she came to live close to her sons. But the son sent her to lessons, because he couldn't take her to the doctor or the supermarket, and she was spending too much money on taxi cabs. It took a while, but I taught her." Victor works almost every day. "I like to be involved with the students, to make sure they get their license. Now I'm getting old, but I keep teaching," he laughs. When asked if he ever gets annoyed with his job, Victor shrugs and says, "I try to be patient. There's too many bad drivers here." But one all-too-typical moving violation gets under his skin. "People will just jump from one lane to another, driving fast. I don't know what's the hurry. Sometimes when I'm teaching, they cut right in front of us, don't use an indicator, nothing. I say, oh boy! And I have to use the brakes and let them pass," he exclaims, increasingly animated. "When I see people doing stupid things like that, I always wish there were cops around to see. But I can do nothing except teach my students the right way."


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