Driving Away Any Tips

, , , , | Working | January 20, 2019

(My girlfriend and I just arrived in Philadelphia. First order of business: getting to our hotel. We head to the first cab in the line, and at first the driver seems all right; he pops the trunk, loads our bags, and asks where we’re heading. That’s about where the professionalism ends. As soon as he sits down, he starts the cab, turns on the meter, and breaks out his phone. The cab sits idle, burning fuel, while he waits for whoever he called to pick up. I consider getting out of the cab and demanding he pop his trunk, but I don’t trust him to notice I’ve even stepped out. Once his friends finally answers, we’re racing off. And I do mean “racing.” This cab has a GPS that notifies drivers if they are speeding, and the only time it stops chirping is when we approach a red light. If we pass stop signs, he most certainly doesn’t care. And at no point does he get off the phone. Thankfully, the cab has seat belts, so we have some peace of mind. As we approach the street our hotel is on, he shifts into the left-most lane and suddenly stops the cab. There are no cars in front of us, and while there is a streetlight, we’re a good two car-lengths shy of it.)

Driver: “Here you are. Fare’s [price].”

Girlfriend: “Where’s our hotel?”

Driver: *points to the building we’re stopped in front of* “It’s right here. This is the restaurant entrance. It’s all connected. The front entrance is further down, and there’s no place to make a U-turn around here.”

(I am tempted to ask why he didn’t take a left turn at the previous intersection — which I later confirmed would have wrapped around the block and easily brought us to the front entrance within about 20 seconds — but following this ride, I am more than happy to get out. I slide out to get the bags, and notice he’s not budging like every other cab driver I’ve ever had would — including himself if we count when we first entered.)

Me: “Would you mind helping with our bags?”

Driver: *shakes his head* “I can’t get out of the cab while it’s on the street.”

(During a more malicious phase in my life, I’d have been tempted to take our bags and run for it just to see how true that was. Instead, after unloading our bags, I do the rational thing.)

Me: “You said it was [Price], right?”

Driver: “Yeah.”

(I don’t remember the exact price, but I remember it required 50 cents exactly. I remember this, because I couldn’t believe my luck. I don’t normally leave my apartment carrying coins unless I’m certain I’ll need them, but on this day I got a soda from a vending machine while waiting for my girlfriend to use the restroom, and I got three quarters in change. Thanks to that soda, I had the means to pay him the exact fare while making it perfectly clear I was deliberately not tipping. And I still learned he could leave the cab while it was on the street, even with the keys still in the ignition, the engine running, and the door wide open. Although, while I was checking us into the hotel, the company informed my girlfriend that was, in fact, something he shouldn’t have done, even if he was displeased with his tip.)

The Key To Getting Your Lost Property Back

, , , , , | Right | December 4, 2018

(I’m the idiot in this story. My husband and I have had a rare night out drinking, and we are making our way home in a private hire taxi we called and booked in advance. My husband decides to stop the taxi early, so we can get out and buy supper at a fish-and-chips shop before walking the last 250 yards to our house. It has stopped raining, thankfully, so it is quite a nice walk — aka “slight stagger.” I decide I don’t want supper, so I walk down the road on my own in order to get the fire going, put the kettle on, and so forth. I reach our front door, only to realise I’ve lost my house keys. I check my pockets and my bag — even emptying both onto the floor — but no keys. I am getting stressed by now — my husband has left his keys at home. I call the taxi office.)

Me: “Hello! My name is Mrs. [My Name] and I just got out of the taxi at [Street]. I dropped my keys in the cab! Could you ask him to look for them, please? I’m so sorry; I know you’re busy.”

Dispatcher: “Okay, one moment.”

(I hear the dispatcher radioing my taxi driver, and several moments later I hear the reply.)

Dispatcher: “Sorry, Mrs. [My Name], but the driver said there are no keys in the cab at all.”

Me: *explodes* “They must be! I’ve just got out of the cab, not five minutes ago!”

Dispatcher: “Mrs. [My Name], please, he’s a very honest driver! Only this afternoon, he handed in a wallet that—”

Me:I don’t care about a wallet! My keys are in his cab! There’s nowhere else they can be! I had them in my hand, and now I don’t have them! I bet he didn’t even look, did he?”

Dispatcher: “Mrs. [My Name], he’s back at the office, and he’s had another look. Another driver helped, and there’s nothing there—”

(My husband walks up to the door, eating his supper. I quickly and angrily explain what happened.)

Me: “Are you calling me a liar? Do you realise we are standing here in the rain, at nearly midnight, outside our locked door because your driver won’t search his car properly?”

(I fumble for my automatic umbrella, pressing the button to open it, and raise it above our heads. And hear a slight “tinkle” noise as my keys hit the concrete floor.)

Me: *speechless*

Husband: *laughing hysterically*

Dispatcher: “Mrs. [My Name]? Are you still there?”

Me: *calmer now* “Yes. I’m… um… still here. I found my keys, and I’m so, so very sorry. I somehow dropped them into my umbrella. I am so, so very sorry. Please apologise to the driver for me. Oh, God, I am so embarrassed. Oh, my word.”

Husband: *still laughing*

Dispatcher: *trying to answer me without obviously laughing* “It’s… ahem… okay, Mrs. [My Name].” *cough* “No, really, I’ll explain to the driver. You have a good sleep now, eh?”

(I apologised a lot more, and then let the poor man go and do his job. I vowed to — and did — pop into the taxi office the next day to leave a £20 tip for that driver, to try to apologise for practically calling him lazy and a thief. For the next six or so months, however, it was my husband who booked the taxis for us, and each time, I heard him say, “Yes, of course I’ll take my keys. I won’t let her be in charge of them. Yes, I promise. Thanks, bye!” He got a lot of mileage out of that one, with family and friends.)

Unfiltered Story #128482

, | Unfiltered | November 30, 2018

(I’m an Indonesian-Chinese, and already the fourth or fifth generation in Indonesia. I cannot speak mandarin because I’ve never had the need of it. It was not taught in my schools, plus none of my families speak mandarin. I’m in Singapore and riding a taxi. The taxi driver is Chinese, and talks to me in mandarin.)

Taxi Driver: *speaking mandarin*

Me: “Ah, sorry. I don’t understand.”

Taxi Driver: “Indonesian?”

Me: “Yes.”

Taxi Driver: “I knew it. You Indonesian Chinese are shameful. You forgot where you came from. You must learn to speak Chinese! Otherwise your country will never become like Singapore!”

(He continue to speak about how mandarin is going to be the no one language in the future and how China will take over the world and so on. I just decided to keep silent through the trip, and when I paid the fare I did not give him any tip.)

Taxing Taxiing

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2018

(I answer phones for a taxi service.)

Caller: “I’d like to go to the liquor store.”

Me: “Okay, are you ready to be picked up right now?”

Caller: “WHAT?! You’re already here and ready to pick me up right now?!”

Me: “No, no, no, no! I’m asking you what time you’d like to go to the liquor store.”

Caller: “Hehe… You’re a funny guy. You tricked me, you sneaky guy, you.”

Me: “If you’re ready to be picked up right now—”

Caller: “But I don’t see the cab.”

Me: *pause* “The cab will be over in about ten minutes.”

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!)

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