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Taxing Taxiing

| Working | January 9, 2014

(The job I have is in central London and involves early starts between 3 am to 5:30 am. Consequently, travel at this time is subsidised by the company. Most of us get taxis into work. I have recently moved house and find a local taxi company.)

Me: “Hi. I ordered a car for 2:15 am. It’s now 2:25 am and he still hasn’t turned up. This will make me late for work. Can you get this sorted please?”

(They call back.)

Operator: “Hello, sir. I’m afraid you’re driver was stopped by police for a random check. He will be with you shortly.”

Me: “Well, why wasn’t I warned that he would be late? I’m already going to be late. Please get someone here ASAP.”

(I give them the benefit of the doubt that this is a one-off. However, I am getting increasingly frustrated that they also felt the need to call as late as 10:30 the night before to confirm the early booking, even though common sense says that I would be in bed at that time given how early the cars are booked for. After missing a phone call one evening, I ring back around 30 minutes later confirming I still wanted the cab. Predictably, once again they don’t show.)

Me: “I ordered a car for 4:45 am. Can you confirm when he will be here, please?”

Operator: “I’m afraid, sir, that we tried to call you last night. There was no response so the car has been cancelled.”

Me: “No. That is not true! I rang back and confirmed that I still needed the car.”

Operator: “No, sir. You didn’t answer so we cancelled the car.”

(I’m on the verge of completely losing my temper now due the fact that instead of apologising for the mistake, they are just insisting that I never called back to confirm.)

Me: “Excuse me, but I called back. Besides, if I booked the car just two days ago why would I no longer need it? When can you get me a car?”

Operator: “It wouldn’t be for 45 minutes, sir.”

Me: “Are you kidding me!?”

Operator: “Maybe another taxi company would be able to help you, but you will have to call them yourselves.”

(I hang up there and then because I know I will explode if I carry on talking to them. I drive to work that morning and get into trouble for being late. Needless to say, I cancel all future bookings with them. A week later, however, I receive the following text:)

Text Message: “Hello this is a message from [Taxi Company] sir you canceled all bokkings with us due to bad servise please call to confirm if you would like these booking”

(No, really. The spelling and grammar was that poor, and there was no hint of an apology for the awful service. Since they knew my address I thought it best not to respond.)

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The Weather Outside Is Frightful And The Customer Is Not Delightful

| Right | December 26, 2013

(I work as a telephonist and talk to huge volumes of customers each day. This particular day there has been a power cut which has knocked out the computer booking system and most of the traffic lights in town. To make things worse, the Christmas market in town is causing total gridlock. I receive a call from an angry caller.)

Caller: “I want to know where my taxi is. It was supposed to be here five minutes ago. This is totally unacceptable.”

Me: “I’m very sorry about the delay, madam. As you may know, there has been a power cut. Our driver has been stuck at an intersection. The traffic lights are down and the main flow of traffic isn’t letting the cross-flow through. This has caused a delay.”

Caller: “Why the h*** didn’t you compensate for this and dispatch it earlier?”

Me: “Once again, Madam, I’m sorry, but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to predict a power cut. Your car will be there within five minutes.”

Caller: “Well, that doesn’t help me. I’ll ask again. Why did you not take this into consideration and dispatch the car earlier?”

Me: “With all due respect, madam, I could ask you why you didn’t book it earlier if you knew there was going to be a power outage?”

Caller: “How the h*** was I supposed to know there would be a power cut?”

Me: “So you agree that these situations are unforeseen?”

Caller: “I don’t want excuses. I want my taxi. You should have prepared for this and dispatched it earlier. I want your name so I can complain about your attitude.”

Me: “Absolutely, madam. My name is [Name].”

Caller: “And who is your manager?”

Me: “That would be me. I can take your complaint about me now, if you’d like.”

(The caller hangs up. The driver arrives three minutes later and waits outside of her house for five minutes. He calls her phone and even knocks on the door but the customer doesn’t answer. Ten minutes later the caller rings back.)

Caller: “Where the h*** is my god-d*** taxi?!”

Me: “The taxi called for you, madam. Did you not receive a phone call?”

Caller: “Yes. What the h*** has that got to do with anything?”

Me: “That was our driver, letting you know he was outside. Did you hear a knock at the door?”

Caller: “Yes, but I didn’t answer because I was getting ready. Where the h*** is my cab?”

Me: “He has been given another job now, madam. He waited outside for five minutes, called, and knocked. In addition, I told you personally that he would be there within five minutes. Yet you were still getting ready when it arrived.”

Caller: “Well, you’d better get another f****** taxi here right now!”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam. Due to the high volume of bookings, the power cut, and the Christmas market, our next available booking slot is in two hours.”

Caller: *deafening stream of abuse*

Me: “Have a nice evening and Merry Christmas, madam!” *click*

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Their Brain Is French-Fried

, , , , | Right | October 2, 2013

Customer: “Where are you from?”

Me: “From Quebec.”

Customer: “Quebec? Is that the province that speaks French?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “But how come you can speak in English?”

Me: *looking at him in disbelief*

Customer: “And when you started to speak in English, did you choose to have a French accent?”

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Driving Away The Tips

| Working | September 11, 2013

(Our Amtrak train from San Francisco has been delayed. We’ve missed our connection and we have been given cash, hotel vouchers, and airline tickets to Buffalo, NY. We take a taxi from downtown Chicago to Midway. Because Amtrak has given us a generous cash allowance, I give a more than usual tip of $15 on a $35 fare.)

Taxi Driver: “Hey, this tip is not enough!”

(He holds out the $15.)

Me: “Let’s see that.”

(I take the $15, and put it back in my pocket.)

Taxi Driver: “S***! You can’t do that!”

Me: “Yes I can. If you have any more complaints, make them to that cop over there!”

(He drives off, cursing.)

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With Late Hour Comes Great Nobility

| Working | July 12, 2013

(After seeing a movie, I’ve just missed the last train back to my hometown. I start to panic slightly as the next one is not until 4 am, and I have work the next day. So, I jump into a hackney carriage but realize it’s the end of his shift, so I open the door to leave; he stops me.)

Cabbie: “Don’t worry about it. Where you going?”

Me: “Erm, [town], please.”

Cabbie: “Okey dokey, then.”

(We start to drive and I see the meter tick on upwards. I have recently lost my job, and the movie I saw was a treat from a friend. I look into my purse and see how little I have, and decide to stop him.)

Me: “Oh, you can stop here, thanks.”

Cabbie: “Oh… but we’re barely in [town].”

Me: “I know my way from here. Anyway, I only have a little cash on me.”

Cabbie: “I don’t mind stopping by an ATM.”

Me: “No… erm… this is all the money I have until I …erm… get my benefits. I just lost my job you see and… well, I missed the last train tonight because the tram was delayed.”

(I stay quiet for a moment to compose myself. Then, I try to hand him the money through the hole. )

Cabbie: “This trip is free of charge.” *turns off meter*

Me: “No, I insist. You’ve done me a service and I should pay you for it.”

Cabbie: “Look love, I’ll be honest: I had literally just finished my shift when you climbed into the back there. You have been nothing but kind. You are a young lady worried about getting home at 2 am and instead of insisting I take you home, you were going to leave and potentially be stuck in [town] for most of the night. You were also very honest. I spend most of my nights trying to MAKE people pay their fare!”

Me: “Thank you!”

(I’m in tears and still try to leave, but he stops me again.)

Cabbie: “Don’t be ridiculous! You wanted to go to [town] and I shall take you there!”

(The cabbie actually did drive me all the way home free of charge. I will never forget his kindness. I’ve since found a new job, but now, every time I get a cab, I give the driver a few pound extra for his trouble.)

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