Should’ve Hitched A Ride With Santa

, , , | Working | May 18, 2020

We are tourists who have booked a reindeer-feeding experience directly through our hotel. The shuttle bus forgets to pick us up; when it arrives at the location and the reindeer park staff realise we are missing, they immediately send for a taxi, which is relayed to us by our hotel reception.

I should note that the name and address of our destination was listed absolutely nowhere on our hotel’s website when we booked the tour. We don’t know where we are going and don’t know the contact details of the location; it has all been handled via our hotel. Once we’re already in the car and moving, the taxi driver asks me:

Taxi Driver: “Where are you going?”

Me: “Uh, we don’t actually know; you were arranged for us by the park we are going to.”

Taxi Driver: “Yes, but where is it?”

Me: “I’m so sorry, we really don’t know. We were supposed to be picked up by a bus and they forgot us; we don’t know the location.”

The driver scoffs and starts laughing.

Taxi Driver: “What? You don’t know where you’re going?? Why did you call a taxi?”

Me: “I’m sorry. As I just said, we didn’t call you ourselves; it was arranged for us. Didn’t they tell you the address?”

The driver is still laughing condescendingly.

Taxi Driver:  “I can’t believe you don’t know where you’re going.”

He then proceeds to pull over and call the tour company. They try to give him the address and he hangs up before confirming that he’s spelt it right. Then, he starts typing it into his map and driving at the same time. It is worth noting that he is speaking to them in English, which seemingly is not his first language nor that of the person he’s talking to, and the trouble they are having communicating is evident.

I am only a tourist and not familiar with the local area, but I know for sure the address he has just typed in is a major city that is over a seven-hour drive away. I feel panic rising in my belly because I have severe social anxiety and his attitude so far is stressing me out. The driver realises the address can’t be right, pulls his phone out again, and calls them back.

Taxi Driver: “You expect me to drive these people to [Faraway City]?” *Pause* “Well, the address you gave me says it is there.” *Pause* “So, it is not there?” *Pause* “Okay, I will just guess, then, because your address is wrong.”

He hangs up on them again and makes no further attempt to fix the address in his maps. I am unable to speak at this point out of panic that he is not only driving us to an incorrect location but will expect me to pay him myself when he can’t find it. The driver speaks to me once more, quite scornfully now.

Taxi Driver: “Unbelievable that you call a taxi and don’t know where you are going.”

He continued driving and, gods be good, guessed correctly and delivered us safely to our destination. It turned out to only be about twenty minutes away from our hotel. The staff were ready and waiting to pay for the taxi and greet us.

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A Pregnant Pause In The Middle Of Their Ride

, , , , | Legal | May 13, 2020

I’m pregnant with my second child and I begin to feel a few contractions. I call my doctor and she wants me to get an exam before the upcoming delivery, so I take a rideshare to the hospital. I know, from my first birth, that I’m still hours away before the baby comes out, and the contractions are still manageable without much more than a grunt, but car rides are very uncomfortable under those conditions.

We get stuck in traffic a few blocks from the hospital, and I suggest the driver turns on a different street that, from what I can remember from the last time I went to that hospital, will get us there. But I’m wrong and the driver makes a U-turn to get us back to the right path. It’s a little residential street, and several streets just like this one are two-way streets in this area. But this is not one.

We come out, going the wrong way, to find out the cause of the traffic jam was a police block. The cop is very excited to bust my poor driver for going the wrong way.

Cop: “You are going the wrong way; what were you thinking?”

Driver: “Sorry, I—”

I know all this is my fault, and I feel awful, so I open my window to intervene.

Me: “Sorry, officer! It was my fault!”

I feel a contraction coming and I let out a roaring scream like in the movies. I catch my breath and continue.

Me: “You see, I’m having a baby and we need to get to the hospital—”

I point to the hospital, just a block away

Me: “—and I thought this street got us there.”

The officer gets very alarmed and tells us to follow him.

I’m very happy he let the driver go without a ticket, especially since cops here are notorious for asking for bribes. But my driver is almost freaking out.

Driver: “WAIT! YOU’RE IN LABOR?”

I let out a very relieved laugh and explained to him that, well, technically, I was, but the baby was still hours away. 

The cop got in his car and escorted us the short distance, sirens blazing. It was all very cinematographic and completely unnecessary since there was no traffic past the police block.

We got there in minutes and all was well with us. I even went back home and then back to the hospital — no wrong roads this time — before having my baby later that day.

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They’re Speaking Both Physically And Mentally

, , , , | Right | May 7, 2020

I work at a taxi call center where we receive and send out the addresses of people’s whereabouts to the cab drivers. In all cases, we must receive an accurate address. This happens more than you would think.

Me: “[Taxi Company], good afternoon!”

Caller: “Yeah, hi, can you hang on for a moment? I don’t know where I am.”

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Grooming Himself For A Life Of Alcoholism

, , , | Right | April 15, 2020

Driving for a ride-share company, I get a call around 1:00 am to pick up a group from a hotel. They’re all dressed elegantly; they’re in tuxes and one lady is in a bridal gown. The customer who ordered the ride sits up front next to me. They’ve been drinking, and now they’re heading out to a local bar.

Me: “So, you folks look elegant.”

Customer: “Yeah, wedding today.”

Me: “Really? Congratulations to the bride and groom!”

Customer: “I’m the groom.”

Me: “So… it’s your wedding night… and you’re going out to a bar?”

There’s a long pause.

Customer: “I feel like you’re judging me.”

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Share A Taxi, Share Some Kindness

, , , , , | Friendly | March 17, 2020

When I was fifteen, I went on a trip to my cousin, who lived in Vienna, Austria. I’m from The Netherlands, so I had to take four different trains to get there, and for two of them I had to make a reservation. I was at the station on time, but the first train had a delay of half an hour, which meant that I would miss the next train that would take me through Germany and for which I had made a reservation. I started panicking on the first train and called my parents on my old Nokia, but of course, they couldn’t do anything, either.

When I got to the station, I was almost in tears. Wi-Fi wasn’t a thing and I didn’t know what to do or who to call. But then, a man came up to me, and asked me where I was heading and if I wanted to share a taxi. It’s not usual in The Netherlands to take a taxi, as the public transport is very good, plus it’s way too expensive for a fifteen-year-old, so I didn’t think of it myself. I heard my mom’s voice in my head, saying that I shouldn’t go to a different country in a strange car with a man I didn’t know, but I really didn’t have a choice.

So, we went to the taxis and found a guy who would take us to the town the train was supposed to go. He charged 90 euros, and the man and I agreed that he would pay 70, and I would pay 20, as I didn’t have that much money.

During the ride, the man turned out to be really nice. He was from Brazil, living in Germany, so we spoke to each other in a mix of German and English. Even though I didn’t always understand what he was saying, he still managed to calm me down.

When we got to the station, even though he had to travel a bit further to get to his home, he got out of the car to help me get my bags. I took my wallet to get him the 20 euros I owed him, but he pushed my hand away and said, “No, no, it’s okay. I’ll pay it. Enjoy your stay at your cousin’s.”

This happened seven years ago and I still think of it. It probably didn’t mean a lot to him, but it sure did mean a lot to me. He made me realise that day what being kind and giving what you can miss — 20 euros weren’t a lot to him, but to me, at fifteen, it was — can mean to someone else. 

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I made the train.

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