Something I now refuse to do is serve, in any manner speaking, as silent accomplice to a hospital discharging a homeless patient onto Seattle's streets, suddenly subject to wind and rain and uncertain fate. This morning at about 2:30 AM Ballard Swedish, via a HopeLink charge, put me on the taxi errand of taking an ill young man, minus warm clothing and hat, to a homeless shelter theoretically located in downtown Seattle. Once on our way it became apparent that one, I had an incorrect address, and two, my passenger was given no information on how to contact or connect with the shelter.
What had occurred was simple enough. The Swedish on-staff social worker had flushed the guy out the door before making standard arrangements for this kind of precarious "middle-of-the-night" transfer from one agency to the next. The young man, new to all of this, was clueless. The early morning was stormy, not fit for man nor beast and especially not for someone penniless, bewildered and forlorn.
Once downtown, I understood the shelter we were seeking was not the King County Administration Building at 500 Fourth Avenue but the City Hall located one block over at 600 Fourth Avenue. Having no telephone number I advised dispatch of the situation. Saying I would try to find a place for the kid I tried both the Union Gospel Mission and DESC but no luck due to the rain, all usual and available beds taken. DESC did provide a reference list which at least allowing me to call the shelter in question, of course receiving no reply. After giving 45 minutes to this sorry misadventure I called dispatch again and got a return HopeLink authorization to return to the hospital. Escorting him back into the ER lobby I quickly told the story, telling them I did what I could, saluted and flew out of there thus avoiding any and all bureaucratic gibberish.
Having seen this scenario before, as I said, I will never participate again in these kinds of shenanigans. Evidently immortally is easy for some. Thank goodness I don't share the same errant predilection and convenient memory loss. Did they really think they could buy my acquiescence for $21.00? Shows what they think about cab drivers generally is all I can say. Money rules the world? For many clearly the answer is affirmative, even if it means tossing someone out onto the streets, a dollar saved the sweeter the financial bottom line.
The Real and Accurate Concern
While too many at Yellow are concerned about their own buttock, the real issue with the new computer dispatch system is mechanical failure and how it is affecting the system's ability to process incoming calls and dispatching them quickly and effectively to waiting cabs. While the majority complain and wail about system nuances, the real question is just when will the system operate as designed. Most cabbies I know are dinosaurs moaning in the bog, not understanding extinction dawns unless drastic action is taken.
Beyond question PSD/BYG (Yellow) as per usual did not do what was necessary to properly and effectively launch the new system. There can be no argument on that point. The real question is how all of us involved collectively will respond. Hopefully Mr. Anderson's arrival next Monday will save the taxi day. Beyond anything it is clear system dysfunction can't continue much longer, soon taking away all incentive to call Yellow. Let the new efficient era begin, and then hold your ears while the dinosaurs cheer! What kind of prehistoric animal are you?