Driving A Taxi Is A Joint Enterprise

, , , , , | Right | August 10, 2018

(I’m the cab driver in this exchange. I have just picked up a well-dressed young man, actually only about seven years older than me, at the airport. He asks for a hotel downtown.)

Fare: “I’m a men’s clothing buyer for [Upscale Local Department Store].”

Me: “That must be interesting, with all the travel and such.”

(Small talk continues all the way downtown.)

Fare: “Could you turn the dome light on, please?

(It was a harmless enough request, so I obliged him. I heard him snap open his briefcase and the familiar sound of papers rustling. We arrived at his destination, and he mentioned that he travels on plastic, but he reached over the seat to give me a tip: A PERFECTLY ROLLED JOINT! I got off work at six am, and got off at home one hour later. You made my night and day, nice guy!)

The Language Of Disrespect

, , , , , , , | Working | August 3, 2018

(I’m a Caucasian woman, but as my stepfather is Indian, I speak fluent Punjabi. I regularly catch taxis for work, which are charged to a work account. I book a taxi four hours before I want to travel. The taxi is thirty-five minutes late. When I get in, the driver is on the phone through bluetooth — which runs through the radio — talking in Punjabi. He offers no explanation on why he is late. I give my destination, which he doesn’t comment on; he just keeps on talking, but starts driving. As the trip progresses, he is still on his phone commenting, among other things, about me.)

Driver: *in Punjabi* “I’m taking a b**** to [Destination], then I’ll get lunch.”

(I decide to record the conversation on my phone and start taking down his license number and the taxi number.)

Driver: *in English* “What are you doing?”

Me: “Just writing some notes for my meeting. Are you going to spend the whole trip on the phone? It’s incredibly rude and unprofessional, and it is giving me a headache.”

Driver: *in Punjabi* “This stupid, white b**** wants me off the phone. I’ll take her the long way and make her pay. I’ll call you back once I drop the [insult] off.”

Driver: *in English* “I was talking to my brother. We have many taxis and are coordinating our drivers. I’m trying to make a living here.”

Me: “If you have many drivers, why were you thirty-five minutes late? And I fully understand you’re trying to make a living, but if I turned up over half an hour late without so much as an apology or explanation, completely ignored the client, and then spent fifteen minutes on the phone, I wouldn’t have my job.”

(He looks at me angrily, but says nothing and continues driving. When his phone rings again…)

Driver: *in English* “This is my wife. It could be an emergency.”

Me: *giving him the benefit of the doubt* “Fine, but please make it quick.”

Driver: *in Punjabi* “Hi, sorry, I’ve got some white [insult] who thinks she’s too good and doesn’t want me on the phone. A man needs to teach the b**** a lesson.”

Me: *in Punjabi* “Pull over, now! I’ve had enough. I’ll be making a complaint and making sure my boss does, too.”

Driver: *in Punjabi* “You understand?”

Me: *still in perfect Punjabi* “Yes, I do. Now pull over.”

(The driver pulls over and stops the metre.)

Driver: “Okay, that’s [amount way higher than the metre].”

Me: “Seriously? One, it’s on an account. Two, that’s not what the metre showed, and three, after what just happened, you expect me to pay?”

Driver: *now really angry, locks the door* “You discriminate against me. Pay the fare; otherwise, I’ll call the police.”

Me: “Call the police. You’re holding me against my will. Plus, it should all be recorded.” *I point to a mandatory camera that by law should record audio and video* “I think they would be interested in what has happened.”

(He unlocked the door. I quickly got out and he took off. I called my boss to explain what had happened. My boss sent a coworker to get me. I filed a complaint with the cops and the taxi company. It turns out he was already under investigation for similar incidents and for not having the camera hooked up. He tried to say I had offered him sex in return for a free ride, then called him racist slurs and threatened to kill him. Luckily, I had enough of the trip recorded on my phone. He was charged with numerous offenses, including holding me against my will.)

That Will Be Some Epic Meter Fare

, , , , | Working | July 11, 2018

(I get a cab through an app to drive me to the airport so I won’t have to leave my car there. The following exchange happens right after she drops me off.)

Driver: “Okay, we’re here. Have a good day!”

Me: “Thank you. Here’s your money.”

Driver: *totally serious* “And when will you need picking up?”

Me: “In about three weeks?”

Driver: “Oh.” *drives off*

(What was she going to do?! Sit there at the airport until I came back?)

Unfiltered Story #115810

, , | Unfiltered | July 4, 2018

I pull up to this man’s house and wait outside. While I wait I am listening to REM’s MTV unplugged album on a playlist of non-objectionable acoustic rock. It is my first ride of the night so I am energized and I have a very friendly demeanor. My rider comes out and he has a miserable scowl on his face.

Me: Hello, _____. How are you this evening?

Customer: I’m fine. Please turn off the music.

Me: OK. Would you like to listen to something else?

Customer: No. No music. I don’t like music.

Me: …..

Tipped To Be A Bad Ride

, , , | Working | April 24, 2018

(My dad, my best friend, and I have attended a concert in New York. It has just let out and we are heading to New Jersey, so we hail a cab.)

Me: “Penn Station, please. Take 7th Avenue.”

Driver: “No, I’m going down 5th Avenue. There is too much traffic on 7th.”

(To get to 5th from where we were, we’d have to get through the MASSIVE crowd of people who just exited the concert hall.)

Me: “Sir, the concert just let out. It’ll take twice as long to get through this traffic. Please do not go to 5th. If 7th is too messy, then go up to 9th and go down.”

Driver: “NO, I AM GOING 5TH! You are wrong, and you don’t know what you’re talking about!”

(At this point the driver is SCREAMING at me. My dad suddenly chimes in.)

Dad: “Oh. Well, someone’s not getting a tip.”

(The driver eventually listened to me and went my way. We had no problems. But for screaming at me, my dad did stiff him on the tip.)


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