For those following my cabbie do & don'ts series, expect more next week, including more about making money, and specifically, how to work hotel stands, something I now rarely do but once serving as my independent taxi "bread & butter" while refining and honing my skills during my first couple of years beneath the top-light. Instead, I will concentrate upon the oddest of animals, a complaint received through Seattle's Better Business Bureau, something I couldn't have imagined, or anyone else at Yellow, for that matter, unique and different if not pleasant, another kind of naive bureaucracy reaching out in confused embrace.
Normally, all official complaints are filtered though the City of Seattle but for reasons unknown, the complainant chose the BBB to register her alleged injury but perhaps I do know why, her complaint unfounded, embellishing truth into unnecessary lying. More than the actual incident, what spikes my curiosity is just as to why would anyone go to such lengths to not only fib but leave themselves open to a libel suit? My taxi educated guess is a toxic combination of alcohol and domestic discord, the woman's husband alcohol-fueled aggression and irrationality prompting her response, finding herself navigating alone a daily traumatic melodrama minus end or easy resolution; easier then to blame anyone other than the individual solely responsible for their combined misery.
Before I report what she said, I will tell you what really happened, something taxi mundane and usual, not noteworthy because it is a commonplace occurrence well known to anyone who has driven a cab: the out-of-control drunken bully who refuses to cooperate. If we can't invite drunks to leave the taxi, what then are we supposed to do when belligerence raises its ugly face?
Belled into a house near the corner of 6th NW & NW 84th, clearly there was a drunken party occurring, the usual shenanigans in full view. Watching the man approach, I recognized trouble, his unsteady gait and angry face telling me everything I didn't want to know. After turning around, and hugging equally drunk friends, he and his wife entered the cab, telling me they are going to N 104th & Greenwood N., a more or less $6-7.00 dollar cab ride, approximately five minutes away.
Normally, unless people either are drunk or insane, that is where it ends but when you are a bully, it is yet another opportunity to bully, crossing over usual and accepted lines of civility. Gruffly telling me to turn right (all I could do), I warned him he had to stop or the ride was over, this response taken directly from my own "taxi" textbook stating you never let drunk, angry or crazy behavior take over the cab, something never allowed in airplanes, buses or trains, recognized for the danger it is. As is obvious, I don't have an undercover air marshal sitting next to me. I only have me to respond. When "all-hell-breaks-loose," which it sometimes does, five minutes is a long wait to be rescued from what might be fatal. Instead, I quickly state what needs to occur, and if the passenger fails to agree, the ride is over.
In this instance, we barely moved 100 feet down the road before the man said he was getting out of the cab. The wife, only wanting to get home, pleaded with him to just let me take them there but there was no arguing, he was gone and that was the end of it, other than calling me back to pick them up again. Why would they do that? Alcohol induced confusion, forgetting dispatch's number (206-622-6500) and calling the cabbie back instead, something I have experienced often in similar circumstances.
What the wife, in her BBB complaint, said occurred, is that I shouted at them "to get the f _ _ k out!, then refused to let them out of the cab, implying for a quick moment they were kidnapped, held against their will, while also stating it was very "scary." Why I would have done this isn't truly explained, the wife making no mention of alcohol or menacing behavior. The truth is, I wanted to take them home, especially the wife but her husband's unacceptable behavior prevented me doing the basic, driving the few blocks northeast to their home.
Getting back to the complaint, you might see the logic in my supposition as to why she made her complaint, perhaps assuaging the beast that is her husband. Having dealt with unfounded complaints before, sometimes the motive appears to be simple revenge, trying to punish the "bad"cabbie. Over the years I have been accused of theft, unwanted sexual advantages, driving drunk or stoned, beatings and the usual "taking them for a ride," meaning "dishonesty is the standard cabbie policy." That I recently returned $500.00 left on the back seat to a regular rider or, as some readers might remember, the potential $5-10,000 left in the black travel bag I found and returned a few months back, won't stop the next unwarranted accusation coming my way, poisoning the day.
All this is the "taxi reality" I know too well and accept as "part & parcel" of doing business and driving cab. The last HopeLink complaint I received was classic, the passenger (he did not have to pay a dime) complaining I took the wrong way to his NE 65th & Ravenna NE apt building, saying I didn't take Montlake Blvd. And why didn't I take the usual and prescribed route, Montlake transitioning into 25th NE, the entire length closed both ways for construction, meaning it was impossible to break through barriers blocking the road. Despite the obvious, this complaint lingering for months before resolved.
I did request for BBB to contact me, instead of using PSD as an intermediary but only if they truly are interested in knowing what it means to deal with nonsensical, irrational behavior entering the intimate space that is a taxi. There is no other public business environment like a cab. I would like for them to understand. A mere half hour conversation would suffice. Let's talk!
MTI Dispatch System Now Installed at PSD
After months of preparation, yesterday, the "San Francisco George" system was switched off and MTI was switched on. It seems user friendly. More later about MTI and our now Manila-based call center. How many shoes do they own?
Uber Quarterly Loss
5.2 billion is the figure. Amazing one might say!
Where did you go wrong?
Spending investor money like tap water,
are you preparing all your dumbbell investors
for one final, inevitable financial slaughter?
In the Wall Street morning after,
In the fiscal bleeding night,
will everyone be waving goodbye
as misbegotten Uber's good ship Misery
drifts out of sight!