NYC cab driver cashes in passenger's IOU in Ireland 9 years later

John McDonagh has been driving a cab in New York City for 40 years. And, boy, does this Irish American cabbie have a story to tell.

"Nine years ago I pick up this guy," McDonagh said.

That guy was fellow Irishman Shane Gaffney from Dublin, Ireland, who was a student in the city at the time. When McDonagh dropped him off, Shane did not have enough money to pay the fare.

"He said he owned a bar in Dublin and I said, 'Yeah, everybody owns a bar in Dublin,'" McDonagh said. "But he says, 'No, I can get you some free pints of Guinness.'"

So then, they figured out how many pints McDonagh could get if he ever went to Dublin.

"We work out almost like Wall Street brokers what was the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro and then we figured out what the price of a pint was and it came out to two pints of Guinness," McDonagh said.

Now keep in mind, this is going on at four o'clock in the morning.

Shane wrote an IOU to McDonagh to come to his parents' pub in Dublin and to say, "Shane Gaffney sent you from America and two free Guinness on me," McDonagh said. "And I took him up on it nine years later."

In September, McDonagh went to Dublin, cashed in on his two pints of Guinness with Shane and his parents, and the media went wild for the story. Gaffney and Son Pub had a banner welcoming McDonagh.

"His mother was at the bar and she says to me, she goes, 'What was my son doing in your cab at four in the morning?'" McDonagh said. "I said, 'You know what — he was working at St. Vincent de Paul, the nightshift. He was just getting off and he was a little short money. So that's what happened.'" 

So he didn't throw Shane under the bus?

"No, I saved him," McDonagh said.

On top of all this attention, Guinness gave McDonagh a tour in Ireland of the Guinness Storehouse, a shrine of what was the brewery. And Guinness even put his face on a pint. 

So where does he go from here?

"It's all downhill from here," McDonagh said. "Now I got to start paying for Guinness. The party's over, man."

The party might be over but as a New York City cabbie, his stories are not.

He has even written a play about his years as a cab driver called "Off the Meter, On the Record."