Once he finished his script -- a Wall Street-themed project -- the aspiring screenwriter posted a sign behind his driver's seat: "If you are a TV producer or executive, I have a pilot ready to go into production," according to a published report.
Nearly 10 years and thousands of fares later, the 45-year-old cabbie finally got a bite.
Puerto now has a producer, photography director, agent and actors for the TV drama titled "M&A" for mergers and acquisitions, reports The New York Post. He says he's prepared to start filming this fall.
While it took awhile to get anyone to sign on board with the TV pilot, Puerto says the sign always sparked conversation.
"You have their undivided attention in the taxi," he told the Post. "Nobody wants to watch what's on that stupid screen in the back. They would rather talk."
As it appears, many of Puerto's passengers found themselves listening -- enraptured by the tale of money and family deception the Queens cab driver told in his TV pitch.
Eventually, Puerto's persistence was rewarded.
"Mike was just so passionate talking about his script and about bringing in advertisers," Rosetta Films co-founder Paul Jarrett, who ended up agreeing to help the cabbie with production, told the Post.
Then Puerto acquired a photography director – a two-year passenger of his – an agent, and assembled a slate of actors, all of whom are patiently waiting to start shooting.
"None of these people have been paid anything," Jarrett told the Post. "It's just that Mike is such a captivating person that we keep coming back to see if he will pull all the pieces together and actually get this thing made."
Thanks to referrals from some of his more well-connected clients, Puerto has been able to approach network executives with his script. But while many have expressed interest in "M&A," they haven't been willing to ink the deal, reports the Post.
Puerto isn't deterred. If President Barack Obama was able to buy huge amounts of airtime for campaign speeches, why couldn't Puerto buy airtime for his TV pilot?
The cabbie is in the process of making that happen. He's brought on his own advertisers and is trying to buy a spot on Spike TV, according to the Post.