This edition comes to you via special request from "she-who-can't-be-named." Telling her a bit about the "hot dog" tale prompted her to call me back and request to have me tell you all about it. Since it was upon her encouragement I started writing this blog, it is the least I can do for her, relating this lamentable anecdote of blatant injustice that otherwise would remain unreported. I rarely recount the various incidents and encounters because that is what taxi is minute by minute, each new passenger having his or her comprehensive history. But in this case I feel it is in the public interest to know. If any reporter was interested in following the case, a simple check of Saturday local police precinct records should get you on the trail.
Personally, at the very least I always attempt to remain civil if not overly interested. I justify my disinterest by making every effort to provide my passenger of the moment the most efficient taxi ride possible. Late last night after I delivered three Birthday revelers from the 1600 hundred block of North 45th to the corner of 12th & East Jefferson, a young woman commented that "it was like I beamed them there" reminiscent of "Star Trek," I was that quick. Part of my "taxi" professionalism is to try to give everyone the same ride throughout the weekend regardless of state of mind and body. The party goers gave me a twenty and a grateful thanks. To me that is pretty much what taxi is for me. It isn't my lifestyle though I do appreciate what it has provided me these past 25-plus years. The instant stories, though many remaining with me, come and go down the taxi river.
Expensive Hot Dog
The young black man was angry. We were already late for him, receiving the computer message that he had already left his house and was walking down Cheasty Boulevard. He breathlessly recounted his tale of misery and woe to a friend punctuated by "yeah n__ger" over and over. The encapsulated version is that he was in Belltown Friday night or early Saturday morning and paid for a hot dog with a one hundred dollar bill. I am guessing that something must have been momentarily distracted the transaction because when the dread-locked kid asked for the change the vendor said no, that he hadn't been given a century note. Police were called and a rookie officer responded questioning the young man, "Are you sure you gave him a $100.00 bill?" instead of doing a real investigation and actually searching the offending vendor.
Getting more and more upset resulted in my passenger being taken to Harborview where he was stripped "butt naked n__ga!" and strapped nude to a bed with a catheter up his penis. I was taking him back to his car. He never got off the telephone the entire ride but I told him to "report the officer to internal investigation." I can only hope he does, channeling his energy toward some resolution. I too have in the past have called the police only to be treated like the criminal. Beware of the "first responders" because you might not receive the expected response. It has happened to me more than once, teaching me I am better off dealing with any situation all by myself.
Fatality in Auburn
5:30 AM this past Friday a longtime "Cuddy Taxi" driver was struck in his cab by a drunk driver running a red light in a Ford Explorer. The cabbie was killed. The drunk crawled out of his overturned SUV and ran for it, being overtaken two blocks away. RIP buddy!
Picking up Jennifer at the Harborview Hospital ER I took her to Lang Towing to retrieve her telephone from her totalled car. Driving northbound on I-5 at about Mercer Street she suddenly had to avoid a fallen bicycle lying on the roadway. Swerving, she ran into a barricade, destroying her 2008 Chevrolet. After the tow yard,I then took her to the west hill of the City of Kent. The police are looking for the driver who failed to secure the bicycle. They have leads.
At Lang I encountered a taxi colleague, an East Indian driver from over 15 years ago, giving me a warm greeting. Best thing to have happened this weekend, the recognition of what I have been attempting, the creation of trust and goodwill. He started off with two tow trucks and now owns Lang. Good to see him.
Why Don't They Tell Their Passengers?
Again I got belled to the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station at about 10:30-11:00 Sunday night where I discovered approximately 30 people with piles of bags and luggage standing outside the station completely bewildered, attempting to get some kind of transportation downtown. I triple loaded my cab, taking Mr. Wicket from southern Germany and two others to their destinations. As I was leaving I watched the crowd struggle with their luggage while boarding a city bus. I have left messages for Sound Transit to do something about this recurring scenario, SeaTac passengers innocently boarding the train thinking they are ending up downtown. This is what happens when you apply logic to Seattle, the equation not adding up. This was Mr. Wicket's first time in Seattle. HOW-IN-THE-HELL-WAS-HE-SUPPOSED-TO-KNOW-THAT-THE-DOWNTOWN- BOUND-TRAIN-WOULD-STOP-SHORT-OF-HIS-DESTINATION? Why don't they just announce that this is the last train of the night and take everyone DT? Once that trip is completed then go out-of-service until 5:00 AM the following morning. How difficult is that? In Seattle it appears to be impossible but why is it impossible? Can someone please explain?
A Lighter Note
My father once drove a Ritz Taxi cab in Denver, Colorado. A passenger, Patrica from Denver I had picked up at the train station told me "proudly" that she had been born in a Ritz taxi in 1963. Glad she lived to tell the tale. Ritz Taxi back then had a fleet of Brown Checkers. Beautiful cars and spacious enough to accommodate an unexpected birth. She was delivered not by the driver but a nurse. We can't do everything!