Late Sunday night a classic taxi situation arose, with a passenger saying she wanted to go a long ways minus any obvious means of payment. In this case, going from West Seattle to some unknown part of Federal Way, Washington, the fare somewhere between $50.-70.00. And besides, I was at that point tired, meaning if I am going to push myself down the road, I need some guarantee of payment.
That I had to ask whether she had the money spoke volumes, knowing as I do the kind or type who are thinking of not paying, expecting "taxi civility" to get them there, only to say "someone else is paying." In general terms, when that is the case, the caller has already informed dispatch, along with the telephone number of the person paying the bill. None of course happened in this potential scam, the passenger suddenly showing up at the cab not from the given address but somewhere off of the street, a ghost suddenly appearing out of the gloom.
Saying I wasn't taking her anywhere expect perhaps the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct just down the street, she pleaded, "Take my purse, take my license!" promising I would get paid. She also wanted me to turn on the meter only once upon reaching the freeway. All this said to me "No way Jose!" and worse, making me shout it was time to depart the taxi, forcing me to come around the cab to toss the lout out.
Understanding I meant business, she jumped out but almost immediately approached the cab's left side, slamming her hands upon the windshield, then grabbing a nearby plastic garbage can and tossing it against the cab. Hitting the gas, I got out of there, not interested in further deranged discussion with a clearly enraged woman.
Her behavior I think can be interpreted in at least two ways. The first is that she was being completely honest, and how can you be so insulting, not trusting me. The other was proving me correct, displaying just who she really is, a conniving, unscrupulous woman not caring about me for a second, perfectly willing and able to steal from me and everyone else.
That I have had passengers skip out on me in the past is obvious, estimating that over a 30 year span I have lost a total of more or less one thousand dollars, amounting to about $33.00 a year. Not a lot but these days, almost filling up 1092's tank.
As any veteran cabbie knows, there is a fine line between kindness and stupidity; and while empathic when someone is miles from home, I am at this point not a social worker but only an exhausted cabbie trying make the proverbial buck. I even tell passengers this but not this time, not having the opportunity, she taking the situation literally in her own hands, tossing rubbish bins and whatever else she could grab. Maybe next time she will be more prepared, now learning what is required when traveling to the big, bad Seattle city, all those MEAN cabbies ready and prepared to eat you alive! Pass the mustard and catsup please!
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