Tuesday, March 19, 2013

When The Small Error Becomes Profound & Two Weekend Assaults

A nearly constant complaint has been the small errors originating from the call takers.  The response from dispatch is that mistakes are inevitable.  Whether that is true or not, it appears to be reality that even the smallest transcription mistake can be consequential as evidenced by what happened to me on a busy Saturday afternoon.  This is what happens when a "W" is typed instead of the required "E", resulting in an addressing error that was nearly catastrophic.

I was working in the north end, Zone 105, the "Northgate" which put me squarely in the middle of two adjacent zones, Zone 100 to the west and Zone 110 to the east.  Offered a bell in the 100, the "Greenwood" I accepted as you never know.  The given address was listed as 10740 8th Avenue NW.  When I accepted the call I was near the eastern perimeter of Zone 105 so it meant the call was about two miles from my beginning point.  It unfortunately turned out that I was in reality about 15 blocks from the actual address, which instead was on 8th Avenue NE.  If dispatch only had real typists performing that all important of functions, inputting addresses into the computers I would think that the majority of these errors could be eliminated.   

Knowing the addresses fairly well I had my doubts about its legitimacy, knowing that it had to be just south of that huge greenbelt known as Carkeek Park.  Arriving there I quickly realized that the given address did not exist.  Calling the long-distance number listed in the address information I was told that they were in a large apartment complex at the "NE" address, and please hurry, they were already late as they were heading to the airport for an international flight.

Of course the traffic back was horrible, as I got caught sitting behind a long string of cars heading to the Northgate Shopping Center, their address of course tucked behind the eastern boundary of the mall.  Fun it wasn't as I simultaneously had two very close calls, first missing by a cat's whisker one car, then nearly crashing into another vehicle.

After that stupidity everything else was easy as they were frantically waiting in front, quickly tossing them and their luggage in and off we flew into the rain and heavy traffic.  I got them there without further incident but hell! all of it was so unnecessary, twenty-five extremely painful and wasted minutes expended for no good reason whatsoever.   Why, why, why?  But of course I know why, just not liking the answer.  Who ever said knowledge was liberating is an idiot!

And a sorry postscript to all of this is that while I am writing this my friend Win calls me in a state of desperation because she and Melody, who is in a motorized wheelchair, have been waiting two hours at the Greenwood Fred Myers store and really need a wheelchair van.  Win finally called me at midnight because the store employees wanted to go home.   I called the "correct people in the know" and assisted in the process.  And glad to report that Win just called back this second (12:27 AM) and they have been picked up.  Hurrah!   Win is one of two people (friend Marty being the other) who got me started writing way back in 1973.  And Melody, who has two books published by Saint Martins Press, wrote the praise for my last book.  Thank goodness the van finally arrived!

A Stabbing & a Head Bashing

Here in Seattle serious taxi incidents are thankfully uncommon but this weekend two Yellow drivers found out that the worst can happen at any time and location.

Up on Capital Hill, one driver was attacked by a young white guy who stabbed him in the hand with a butcher knife.  The nurse up at Harborview Hospital had to hold the telephone for the poor guy while he talked to the driver superintendent .

And up in the Snohomish County city of Lynnwood, another Yellow driver was struck from behind and knocked out.  They also somehow broke a hand.  Fun stuff in the ersatz city.

While gassing up very early Monday morning I told a fellow driver about the incident.  You should have seen his face!  Yes we all know it can happen to any one of us at any time, none of us exempt from sudden madness.   What a nice reality!