Their Common Sense Is In The Middle Of Nowhere

| Singapore | Working | May 22, 2017

A few weeks ago, I had a meeting at an industrial area that had only one road in or out. By late afternoon, it would be jammed with people going home. I didn’t know that and thought I could book a cab (this was before Uber) using the cab company’s app. I had to use the app to drop a pin on my location on the map because my meeting was on a construction site and there was no address at that time. No cabs were available and I had no choice but to call the cab company.

I explained that I am at this particular street, and need a cab to pick me up. The operator said that I needed a house or block number. I replied that, along that entire road, there is only one construction site, where I am, and there are no other buildings or construction sites. The operator insisted on a unit number, otherwise, a cab cannot be sent to my location. I repeated that there was absolutely nothing along the road, except for the site where I was at. In the end, I had to walk 15 minutes to the nearest building and call the operator again.

When I complained about this incident to a cab driver recently, the driver told me that I should have just made up a unit number. If the driver cannot find the unit, he would have to call me; this will be easier than trying to convince the operator who sits in a call centre and doesn’t know anything that I am in the middle of nowhere and need a pick up.

The things I can learn while talking to cab drivers…

Taxing Taxiing, Part 2

| Dallas, TX, USA | Working | May 2, 2017

(I have to catch a flight home early in the morning and because I get terribly ill from synthetic fragrance & most cabs use it, I am very lucky to hear about an unscented driver. When I call to book I suggest he get me at 5:00 am but he insists 5:20 will give us plenty of time. That night an intense storm occurs and when I wake up it is still raining very, very hard. I am waiting under the breezeway for the apartment complex, with my luggage. 5:20 rolls around and still no cab. 5:25, he calls.)

Cabbie: “Hi! I don’t know where your building is so I’m waiting at the [Gas Station & Convenience Store a block away].”

Me: “But…! I can’t carry my stuff that far and I’d be soaked!”

Cabbie: “Well, I wasn’t sure how to find you.”

Me: “Do you need me to tell you the address again?”

Cabbie: “No, I have it.”

Me: *thinking, ‘Isn’t finding addresses what cabbies DO?’* “Well, I need you to come get me. It’s really easy. You see the sign a block west of you, for [Grocer]?”

Cabbie: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, well, just turn into the alley behind them. Our back wall faces their back wall.”

(I eventually see a van (but since he is a private driver there is no light on the roof to indicate it is a cab, so I am unsure if it’s him) creeping slowly along from the right direction. However instead of turning into the alley as I instructed, it parks on the main street a quarter block away. I  start to run out toward it, when it approaches, but when it parks I figure it is not the right vehicle, so I duck back under the breezeway. By now it’s 5:45 and I am very scared of missing my flight. I call the cabbie again.)

Me: “Are you still lost? What info do you need?”

Cabbie: “Well, I thought I saw you but I must be at the wrong place… Someone came out but they went back in.”

Me: “Uhm… I think that WAS me. I wanted to wait under the roof so I wouldn’t get rained on. Why can’t you just come to my building?”

Cabbie: “Well, you see me… Just come get in!”

Me: “But it’s raining so hard! And I have heavy bags! Please just pull into the alley.”

(I see the van start up and it moves towards me. But he stops at the sidewalk right before entering the alley, as though afraid of the giant puddle there. I am freaking out about the time so after he sits there a minute I give up and grab all my luggage (very stupid with my bad back) and run to the van. My expensive orthopedic shoes get soaked, and my socks… I had wet feet until I get home at 10:00 that night! Dude doesn’t apologize or even look stressed. It’s as though he thinks this is normal.  The worst is yet to come, though. He straddles the lane-divider line most of the way, swerving violently (I hope, to avoid potholes, but who knows) and basically driving like he’s drunk. I don’t think he was, though, as I didn’t smell liquor. He seems extremely old, though, so I suspect his vision may have been failing. We get to the airport five minutes past my check-in deadline!)

Cabbie: “Just hold on and I’ll come around and open the door for you.”

Me: *finally snapping, after never standing up for myself before in 40 years of life* “SERIOUSLY?! You nearly killed us twenty times on the drive here. You made me wade through ankle deep alley water, carrying 80 lbs of luggage. You made me late, and I may miss my flight, because you insisted we leave late and then you couldn’t do the basic task of finding an address. And you decide NOW to start caring about customer service?! I don’t need you to open the flipping door!”

Cabbie: *looks sheepish* “Uh, you don’t need to tip me.”

(Yeah. As if I was gonna.)


Making A Cleaner Getaway

| Winnipeg, MB, Canada | Working | March 4, 2017

(I work in IT. One night, I have to work very late, and because my office is in a bad part of town and I don’t have a car, I call a taxi instead of taking the bus.)

Taxi Driver: “So, you work for [Company], eh?”

Me: *very tired, and not really paying attention* “That’s right.”

Taxi Driver: “What’s it like working there?”

Me: “Most of the time, it’s fine. I hate it when I have to work this late, though.”

Taxi Driver: “Guess you shouldn’t have chosen this line of work, then.”

Me: “Um, I guess.”

Taxi Driver: “Are they hiring right now?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Taxi Driver: “I bet working there would be easier than driving a cab.”

Me:  “Maybe… Did you study IT at university?”

Taxi Driver: “IT? You’re not a cleaner?”

Me: “What? No.”

Taxi Driver: “Oh.” *is quiet for the rest of the drive*

A Bridge Too Far

| Queens, NY, USA | Working | March 3, 2017

(I’m out with my boyfriend, who is Norwegian, and we’ve just missed the bus. The next one doesn’t come for a while, and we’re both incredibly tired, so we decide to just catch a taxi home to Brooklyn. After finally getting in the taxi, I begin to speak with him in Norwegian in the backseat for privacy reasons. The trip seems to be going normally until I look out the window and realize the driver is taking us on the Williamsburg bridge INTO Manhattan. You can drive directly from Queens to Brooklyn without going into Manhattan.)

Me: “Um, excuse me… Are we going into Manhattan?”

Driver: “No, this is the Williamsburg Bridge; it takes you to Williamsburg.”

Me: “No, this is the Williamsburg Bridge, which connects Williamsburg to Manhattan. We were in Williamsburg. Now we are driving to Manhattan.”

Driver: “No, we’re driving to Williamsburg.”

Me: “Is that why I see the Empire State Building in the direction we’re driving?”

Driver: “…”

(I am silently stewing, knowing he thought he could charge me extra because he thought I was from Norway, while my boyfriend tries to comfort me. We get to the end of the bridge and turn around from Manhattan, to go back into Brooklyn. In the past when taxis have made a false move by accident, they always turn off the meter to account for it. This driver doesn’t. We finally arrive at my destination, and the price is MUCH higher than it should have been.)

Me: “I’m not paying for that. I’ll pay [amount] for the ride. But I’m not going to pay for that $10 of traffic and turning around for no reason.”

Driver: “How about—” *listing number almost as high as the metered fare*

Me: “No.”

Driver: *sighing* “Okay, okay, fine.” *takes my money*

(I wrote down his taxi license and reported him. I had location turned on on my phone, and even had a Google Maps history recording of the ridiculous trip he took me on. I’d never been so pissed before, because no one had ever tried to rip me off thinking I was a tourist in my own city!)

Wicked Taxi Driver Of The West

| Montreal, QC, Canada | Working | January 23, 2017

(I finish working at 2:45 am. By the time I remove my uniform, I take a taxi a 3:05. I give my address to the driver, who obviously thinks I’m a drunk girl getting out of a bar, considering the location and the time. He takes off in the wrong direction.)

Me: “Mister, I live in the east.”

Driver: “I know, we’re going east now.”

(We’re clearly going west, even though I’m tired I still can recognize the streets.)

Me: “No, you’re currently going west. Turn on your GPS. You’re clearly going in the wrong direction.”

Driver: “It’s okay. It’s okay. I’ll tell you when we get at your destination.”

Me: “Listen, you’re making me take a detour for nothing. I’d like to get home as soon as possible and not pay more than necessary. Please go east now.”

Driver: “You probably had a couple drinks too much. It’s okay. It happens to the best of us to be lost because of alcohol. I’ll tell you when we get there.”

Me: “Hey. I’ve been up for 18 hours; I just finished my work shift. The last drop of alcohol I drank was many days ago, and I really want to go to bed NOW. If you refuse again to drive me straight home without taking a detour, I’m calling your central to tell them that you’re refusing to take me to my destination. And it’s out of the question that I pay for the detour you just took.”

Driver: “Oh, sorry. I couldn’t know that you weren’t drunk; you’re at the closing hour and downtown…”

(I took note of the taxi’s number to make a complaint.)

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