More than a necessary nuisance, drunks, especially extremely drunk passengers, are dangerous and unpredictable, one personal example of many being a sodden customer's hand reaching the steering wheel and nearly pulling us into a head-on collision. Ah yes, ain't alcohol consumption wonderful, cheering the masses into collective euphoria? From my taxi perspective, the opposite is true, excessive drinking a self-induced psychosis leading only to nonsense and mayhem, and in worst-case scenarios, the morgue. The following are a few suggestions and strategies for dealing with this never ending problem encountered day and night in this here United States and the world in general.
Dealing with Drunks
As is often said, a happy drunk is a pleasant drunk, laughing and joking, truly the life of the taxi party. While maybe true upon the twirling dance floor or the convivial lounge, drunks---happy, sad, aggressive or crazed---present a serious problem for the cabbie. Too often the most basic is impossible, getting the fool to tell you his/her address, meaning, how can you proceed forward when everything is ass-backward? Not easily is the answer, the drunk at times an unresolvable equation, the math involved one giant subtraction minus all positives. Above all, above all other considerations, you must be sure that the drunk will pay you once you have reached the destination. I mention it because the issue will come up, and negotiating with the drunk is both frustrating and insane. I guarantee you the first words emanating from their mouth will be "Haven't I already paid you?" And don't think they will believe anything you say.
From hard experience, I have learned some basic tenets concerning drunks. Heed my warnings or forever be damned, the uncaring drunks' unerring goal is to make your life a misery. As always, in every taxi situation, be aware of who is (and their state of mind) getting into your cab, because once they are in the back seat, it can be extremely difficult to get them out again.
One "hard & fast" rule is to NEVER , EVER ALLOW the "blind drunk" in your cab without a somewhat sober friend who can and will control their companion's behavior. Another steadfast rule is NEVER ALLOW a bartender to make his/her PROBLEM your PROBLEM! Lock you doors and say, minus all equivocation, that you are not letting the passenger in until they are reasonably sober. Be sure to also call dispatch, appraising them of the situation because you don't want the bartender to simply call back in an attempt to find a more compliant cabbie. As I have told more than one bartender, "You are one who over served the guy, this is your problem, you are not going to make it mine!"
And what do "blind drunks" do? They leap out of moving cabs. They refuse to pay. They physically assault you. They have you circling round and round a neighborhood, shouting "Why can't you find my address?" They accuse you of stealing their money. They accuse of you beating them up. They say you sexually assaulted them or made lascivious suggestions. They yell "you are kidnapping me." And of course, like the "garden-variety" drunk, they vomit all over the backseat. If any of this sounds fun, then you too are "out-of-your-mind," because dealing with the "blind drunk" is complete insanity and nothing else, a thankless task for the weary cabbie.
A Short Checklist for the Wise Cabbie
If possible, before letting the drunk in, ascertain their level of inebriation. If too drunk, drive away.
Always! Aways! keep the drunk in the back seat. Drunks sitting next to you are a menace. Beware!
Never, ever allow them to vomit in your cab. Have the drunk drape newspaper over their lap or provide a paper bag. Keep the drunk seated next to an open window, admonishing them to tell you if they are about to vomit.
Make sure the seriously drunk individual have an escort who will take control of their friend or spouse. No escort, no ride.
Know the address before pulling away.
If you are uncomfortable, seek pre-payment. If they don't pay, terminate the ride.
If attacked, immediately call 911 and make yourself safe. Turn off the cab and get out.
After successfully getting the drunk home, assist as fully as possible getting the passenger to their door, making sure they can unlock their door. Otherwise, you might witness them falling over and cracking their heads. And also advisable, if possible, is to get the spouse's telephone number and call ahead, seeking assistance at the door. This strategy can also "sober up" the customer, knowing the wife is waiting to slug them over the head.
Make sure nothing is left in the cab, including money. Also make sure the drunk doesn't over pay. If they give you $50.00 for a $20.00 fare, point it out, asking them "do you understand you are giving me this?" While you may think you deserve the money for your "pain & suffering" after dealing with this total asshole, honesty is, and always will be, the best taxi policy.
Again, and I repeat, never let a bartender transfer their trouble into your cab. Tell them to call the police, not another cab.
Never get intimately involved with the drunk. Many drunk woman will beckon you. Leave then alone. You are potentially looking at very serious trouble. Once they have sobered up, they might say whatever happened wasn't consensual. Beware! And besides, what is reasonable, positive and good about sleeping with a drunk? Nothing I can think of.
Whenever encountering an overly aggressive and angry drunk, tell them, in no uncertain terms, to stop and get in control. If they don't, ask them to leave.
There you have it. Good luck. You'll need it.
To be continued.
Definition of "blind drunk" added 07/15/2019
In talking to "she who can't be named," she asked just what had I meant by referring to some customers as "blindly drunk." And from my unfortunate experience, a "blind drunk" is someone intoxicated pass saturation into an alcohol induced poisoned state of body and mind, causing a kind of walking, talking unconsciousness, the individual "blacked out" yet moving down the street, zombie-like, totally disconnected from functional reality. Communication is not possible, making all interaction fraught with dangerous possibilities and bad outcomes, the "blind drunk" literally "out-of-their-mind" until sobering up how many hours later. No fun is my clear and obvious reaction, the kind of passenger to be avoided at all hours of the day and night.
PS 07/21/2019---"Drying-out Center closed
For years, the homeless, hopelessly drunk had a free place to safely and peacefully sober up but no more. Located for years on Boren just off of Stewart Street, it is now officially closed. Their new location, in the new hip and so-called alternative Georgetown neighborhood, cannot open on time due to neighborhood opposition. Perhaps they prefer instead the inebriated to vomit upon their doorstep. So much for the "liberal" embracing of the downtrodden. What would Jesus do?
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