Taxi driving is a cruel game made even crueller by passengers like Mabel. The Mabels’ of the world know their rights and offhandedly employ them at every opportunity, regardless of the impact on their hapless victims.
Yet when it’s explained to them that such thoughtless practises are unfair to hard working cabbies, these Mabels, paid decent money for their undoubted intellect, plead ignorance..!?
Early this morning I waited 50 minutes on point car at a regular rank when finally a familiar face appeared. This was a $55 fare - a pleasant, chatty passenger. There is a God, I mused, watching him sign-out in the lobby. Then Mabel suddenly appeared and beat him through the door.
All the drivers complain about her, wishing she’d just grab the rear cab like other considerate, short-fare colleagues, but what can we do. She’s entitled to plonk herself down in whatever cab suits her and always takes the first cab.
So when she made a beeline for my back door, I dejectedly climbed into the driver’s seat knowing I’d just lost $50, or five hours wages on a dead Sunday night. I decided it was time for a quiet chat.
Pulling away I quipped, “Gees, that chap heading to Mona Vale was coming but you beat him by one second!” Silence. “You know," I continued, "there’s another girl who lives around the corner, like you, and she always takes the last taxi.” More silence. She knew exactly what I was saying.
Precisely three minutes and $5.65 later we stopped outside her apartment tower. Although she tipped a couple of extra bucks for the short fare, I resolved to explain myself further, stating, “I only pointed that out before because I’ve just waited 50 minutes for a fare.”
This brought an immediate curt response. “Listen, I know you people have a hard job but don’t expect me to walk home at this time of night.” She was deliberately avoiding the issue. “I’m not suggesting that,” I told her. “All I’m saying is that we’d prefer you took the last cab instead of the first cab. It’s a simple consideration, that’s all.”
Yet no way would she accept being chided for her laziness by some bum cab driver. Leaning forward she growled, “Hey, don’t take your problems out on the passengers, okay?”, then quickly exited the cab. It was a pretty lame response and I braced myself for the inevitable door slam.
Fortunately, however, I’m happy to report that there are very few passengers like Mabel. Thankfully.