In years past, often I would have more inert passengers, meaning packages, than alive and breathing human beings, the only required human contact secretaries, receiving clerks and various medical staff more than happy to hand you the package or sign for it. Especially at Yellow, blood was the big mover, taking us to all points east, west, north and south around Washington State. Packages are great, keeping the conversation to a minimum, and not telling you how to get down to Olympia or north to Widbey Island. Human passengers of course are more demanding, some even thinking they know far more about taxi driving than you do, bringing me to crux of the matter: you need to be a combined psychiatrist, detective, comedian, saint, cop, mediator, historian and human punching bag to successfully communicate with that unstable animal known as the modern and current planet Earth human inhabitant. If an actual outer-space alien enters your cab, you probably wouldn't know it, our fellow homo-sapiens as varied and different as Mercury, Uranus and all the other planets orbiting our Sun. "Hey you, Mr & Mrs Pluto, where would like to go? Oh sure, your son and daughter are currently visiting Area 51? Yes, we can negotiate a flat rate. Step in my spaceship 1092 and off we will roar round and round the known world!"
Passengers, Love 'em or Hate 'em, They are Our Taxi Bread & Butter
If there is a true bottom line, and one word, or one approach existing when serving and communicating with our taxi customers, it is RESPECT, imperative our initial greeting is one of respect and nothing else. Of course, and while knowing full well how quickly taxi interactions can sour, you always should be prepared to instantly respond appropriately when the customer is, in turn, disrespectful in whatever manner. But in all normal circumstances, regardless of who the person is, welcome them into your cab, hoping they respond in kind. This also applies to servicing the call instead of assuming that the customer waiting at the the local grocery store is somehow less deserving of your cab, to the point that the fare is "dumped," leaving the customer questioning just "where-the-hell-is-my-cab?"
Respect also applies to the drunk passenger. Within reason, make every attempt to assist, getting them safely home. As is obvious, over a year's span, you will potentially meet every kind of human being in every conceivable life situation. This is where "taxi sainthood" comes in, because often the "patience of a saint" is required. "Losing your temper" should only come into play when you are either in danger or unjustly insulted. Being grumpy is okay, or at least moderately grumpy, because too often that is what I am after too many hours plying the streets. Just remember, beyond anything else, that the passenger sitting in your back seat is not responsible for your life situation. Whenever possible be emotionally embracing, welcoming. If that approach is rejected, well, so be it, finish the ride and say goodbye. Hatred is not helpful. Instead, try to find some viable alternative. You might even get a good tip as a result of your effort. As I know well, you never, ever truly know what will happen! Good luck dealing with the insults! Again, just another part of the taxi experience we all share, the good and bad and the everything in between.
To be continued.
Next week: Dealing with the Police
Also Passenger Relations Part 2---More Specifics
Post a Comment