Amazing Race's Gary and Mallory: Our Cabbie Lost Us $1 Million
Phil Keoghan, Mallory, Gary
Bad taxi luck struck Gary and Mallory Ervin at the worst time on The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business — on the last leg, and they couldn't do anything about it. "Once we pulled out of the airport, there was no going back. We were married to [our cabbie] Sterling for better or worse," Gary tells TVGuide.com. "We went to remote locations, so we couldn't change cabs." Despite that, the father and daughter made up major time on Kisha and Jen, and Flight Time and Big Easy at the trailer task and are happy they got to go out racing hard.
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Fans are very, very mad at Sterling. Do you blame Sterling?
Mallory: [Laughs] Sterling's totally a good guy, but, yeah, Sterling lost us $1 million! ... It's funny. We're nice people and we got in a cab with a GPS, and this lady knocks on the window, saying, "This is my cab." So we jumped out and got into Sterling's. That was probably the wrong move, but we were being respectful. She said she was waiting on it in the [airport taxi line]. Little did we know that Sterling was what we were about to encounter.
Gary: We drove a good 12 miles past the exit [to the first task]. It was Mile Marker 98 and we drove to Mile Marker 114, so that was probably our biggest loss of time. Plus, he didn't know where the roads were. We started down the wrong road. We could see [the correct road] and he was on another with stop lights. I don't know how long he was a cab driver there! [Laughs]
Why didn't he call anyone? Did he have a cell phone?
Mallory: He didn't, which was so weird. And he didn't have a GPS, which now when you get in cabs, no one does not have a GPS. And the weird thing about it is that he took us to Sterling Road! [Laughs] I don't know what in the world — it was so surreal. First, I was like, "It's a sign! We're back on track!" But we get there and it's, like, a residence. I don't know if he took us there because his name was Sterling or what. It's the only street he knew!
What was it like knowing you were last before you could even get started?
Gary: We were bummed out. ... But we've been behind before and had managed to come back. In the trailer park, we caught them and saw the problems with the wind. We didn't give up all hope, but it was getting hard to keep our energy level high. Once we got out of the cab, we were fine. Then the race was in our hands. If we messed up outside of the cab, we had no problems with that. ... We finished the trailer faster than they did because they only had the postcard to go by and we were able to see their trailers.
Mallory: We were so happy to see everyone at the trailer park. We were very surprised. We thought it was going to be a memory challenge. We knew at one point we were an hour and a half behind, but we wanted to finish it racing after all that. We made up an hour at that. In the end, I think it was probably within 15 minutes between the three of us. We could see everyone on the bridge the whole time. There was no way we could pedal those bikes fast enough to catch up! [Kisha and Jen] are our friends and it's good to get to see them win.
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The Globetrotters said they couldn't lie to you guys about the earlier flight to Rio.
Mallory: [Laughs] Flight Time and Big Easy are really good guys and they can't tell lies, just like we can't tell lies. That was Big Easy's attempt and he didn't do so good at it. He told us with his face. ... They're always the ones who, after we get our tickets, are like, "Let's go eat McDonald's! Let's go look at books!" or are singing songs about the place we're going. For them to walk away like that, it was so obvious!
Why did you have so much trouble backing up your car in Austria?
Gary: We got a little ahead of ourselves. We just took off driving after seeing other teams going while we were listening to Phil talk. When he said, "Put your car in reverse," we had already pulled out and turned where we couldn't see anything in our backup camera. So we finally listened to it and it said to go back to the starting position, so we went all the way back.
Gary, in Liechtenstein, did you already have 22 kilometers before Flight Time told you?
Gary: Yeah, well, I had 23, and I think their range was to 25. It gave me confidence that I was right. I didn't get lost, but I kept stopping at intersections. I had a pencil and — it's probably against the law — but I would write on the intersection signs how much I was reading. That way, if I ever got lost, I would backtrack. I figured it would wash off during a rainstorm!
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Were you surprised that he told you? Obviously afterward, you knew Jet had to restart.
Gary: It was a good tactical move for the rest of us. He knew that Jet had been lost. Flight Time was lost also. He would've never gotten that number if he hadn't gotten lost. He was way on the other side of the castle when he found [Zev and Justin, and Kisha and Jen] waiting for the bus. Vyxsin was coming along, but she had a different number because of a glitch in her odometer. I was glad he shared it with me. I think it was for two reasons: One, we liked running the Race together; and two, it got rid of a strong team in the cowboys. He put them back. We had seen them come back from hour deficits, so no one ever counted them out.
You said the cowboys are the best team to have never won the Race, but you're not too shabby yourselves.
Mallory: Oh, it's the cowboys for sure! ... We were so sad to see them go. I was crying! They're such great guys. They so live up to the hype and more. They were a pleasure to be around and to race with. They deserved to be in the end just as much as we did.
Gary: I still believe that. To win the Race, you have to have a lot of different things. Maybe they were a little too lackadaisical booking flights. They had terrible luck with their planes. A lot of it was just not being persistent enough. They're very polite and very courteous, and sometimes that can hurt you in the Race. My job was to apologize for cutting in line. You really have to be aggressive at times and not laidback. But they're mentally very quick, physically very strong. They just were very good at a little bit of everything.
You ran two races in one calendar year. Could any year top 2010?
Mallory: Oh, you know what, I don't know. We're still waiting for the call to come back! [Laughs] We miss it. We'd do it again for the rest of my life. I think my dad might be out of a job!