An Irish Taxi Driver Learned To Read And Write In His 50s

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Tony Moloney, now 60, was illiterate until age 53. "I didn't realise ... that I could do anything about it, I thought I was alone," he told The Independent.

It's never too late to learn something new — or master a skill you never could in school.

Tony Moloney, a 60-year-old former taxi driver in Cork, Ireland, didn't learn to read or write until he was 53. Struggles with dyslexia held him back, The Independent reports

"I didn't realise ... that I could do anything about it, I thought I was alone," Moloney recalls. "You think you're the only one who has a problem reading or writing, so you have this constant fear that you’ll be caught out."

But how did a taxi driver make due without the basic skills of reading and writing? Moloney recorded addresses and directions on a dictaphone and would later play them back. He also memorized names and addresses. 

Growing up, Moloney was in a class of 57 kids, and he wasn't able to learn to read or write. After leaving secondary school, Moloney failed company exams in Cork, so he took up an apprenticeship as a decorator and a painter.

Moloney even hid his illiteracy from his children. And although his wife knew, she didn't broach the topic.

It all changed seven years ago, however, when Moloney pursued free local computer classes, and his challenges were confronted. At Youghal Adult Learning Centre, his tutor motivated him to try personal literacy classes. 

After more than a year of education with a personal tutor, Moloney entered a group class of 11 adults. He's now a literacy ambassador for the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). 

"It made a different person out of me, the whole world has just opened up to me," he said to the Independent. 

Hey, if a 99-year-old woman can acquire a college degree, learning to read and write at 53 is more than possible. All it takes is a little hard work and patience.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr user Mic

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