I used to drive a taxi/cab. Why? I often ask myself that, it was a shitty job, but it got me through 2 years of university, so it served a purpose. I was telling a few stories from those days to a friend recently and it got me thinking that I should write these stories down before I forget them.
Just go to the rank
I was sitting in my car at a petrol station in Northbridge today and I saw the cab I used to drive. Good old 652 :o) I then remembered an incident that happened one night at this very petrol station. I told myself to blog it tonight, so here it is.
A busy, as usual weekend night, about 1am, I need fuel.
I pull into this station that's at the end of James St. The main nightclub taxi rank was in those days on James St. The queue at the rank could often swell to hundreds, but 99% of all cabs working the district went straight there. Why, partially because it was policy to pick up from the rank, but mostly because it had security guys and they would weed out the severely drunk dudes. It narrowed the odds somewhat in our favour for a pleasant fare.
But of course as Newton's third law stated "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." and this just created another problem. Streams of aggressive drunks walking down the line of cabs queuing for the rank, demanding to be let into your cab.
Doors locked until the very moment of pick up at the rank was compulsory.
So this line of cabs often extended down to where I was on that night, the petrol station.
A cab pulls onto the end of the line, I keep pumping fuel into my car, pointing people to the rank who keep asking if I'm available.
A pretty pissed dude doing the line crawl arrives at the last cab. He bangs on the passenger door. The cabbie points him towards the rank and the huge queue. Of course he's already been rejected at that end, so he figures this end of the line is now the end for him.
He's getting agitated at the cabbie for not opening his door.
This is gonna get worse before it gets better, I can just tell.
Then it happens.
The dude lashes out with his foot and plants it firmly into the passenger side front door of the cab. Dents it well.
Fuck I mutter
You see, being a cabbie is expensive. Insurance being the big issue, if you're a casual or pool driver who doesn't own a cab and just rents one from the pool for the night, then you have a huge insurance excess cost. Usually $1000.00 before the insurance company pays you anything. So if some panelbeating for a kicked in door costs say $500.00 then you are gonna have to pay for it out of your pocket. Hell if it costs $1100.00 you're gonna pay the first thousand.
So you can understand the concerned cabbies attitude to having his door kicked in. Pretty fucking pissed off, I know I would be.
So the cabbie leaps from his car, a big no no, never take on a drunk, I know it's hard to do this and I've failed myself, but you should just call the cops. But this 6 foot 4 African guy aint seeing reason, he lunges at the guy and starts raining haymakers down on the dudes head.
So I gotta go help, it's all happening metres away from me and there's this unwritten cabbie brotherhood code of honour bullshit thing I swore to uphold at some late night diner once :sheesh:
I run over, but I'm not sure who I should help more, the drunk is gettin a hiding and it's then I notice that the cabbie is hitting the guy with his change container and coins are flying everywhere. I think it must have been costing the cabbie around $5.00 in small change per punch. So I step between the two of em. I think they were both relieved, one cos he wasn't getting hurt anymore and the other because this incident was getting expensive :o)
I calm them both down, the cabbie goes back to his cab, no doubt to call the cops, I check the dude isn't severely wounded, have a word to him about his bullshit antics with the door and console him a bit over his injuries. He now sees me as a friend and realising that I'm also a cabbie says to me
"So man, can you give me a ride?"
Jesus H, what is with people, yeah I want YOU in MY cab.
I sit him down on the verge and minutes later the cops are there. I'm gone. Giving my name will just take time and cost me money. The first person in the gathering crowd who asks if I'm free gets the nod and we're off, screw that rank, it's too much trouble
You can read the other stories in the series so far by clicking the taxi label below