Two fares on Saturday night perfectly illustrate the contrasting techniques of vomiting in a taxi. The first example was smart, the second dumb.
The passengers, both women insisted they had never been sick before in a cab and apologised profusely. They were mature, middle-class and well mannered. Both had been farewelled at the pick-up by solicitous friends and appeared sober, with no indication of their inebriation.
The first woman sat up front and lamented going home early after disgracing herself at a party. This was the first sign of her condition. So it was little surprise when two minutes later she requested we stop, quick!
Opening the door she leaned out and went through the standard routine of guttural retching. Between spits and coughs she muttered an apology but I told her to take as long as necessary, just relieved she had given me advance warning.
After dropping her home with no further interruptions I pulled into a service station to clean off any collateral residue, usually on the door and the sill, but was pleasantly surprised to find none. She was a class act.
The second fare climbed in the back seat and ordered the north shore. She had been to the Australia v France rugby match, of which we chatted briefly before falling silent. From this exchange I got no sense that she was drunk at all.
However, within minutes I heard the unmistakable whoosh of gushing fluid and turned to check. She was upright and motionless in the half light and I asked if she was okay.
When she failed to reply I hit the cabin light to find that she had dumped a large deposit down her front, without any attempt to use the window. She was stunned by the sudden eruption, like a child.
Using the drivers panel I dropped her window and headed for a nearby garage whilst another spurt belched into her football scarf which she held to her mouth. An Aussie Wallaby scarf, qué horror! By the time we reached the garage she had totally lost control and was laying across the seat.
The good news was she had managed to spray most of the load over her clothes and once I got her out found there was little left to clean, save for five minutes of sluicing and drying with paper towels. Best of all there no lingering odour to gross out the next passengers.
This poor girl was also totally embarrassed and offered to pay for the clean-up but I only took the fare and told her to get lost. After advising that next time she stick her head out the window, or ask to stop the cab. Common sense, really.
That’s the difference between either trashing a cab or swallowing one’s pride (excuse the pun) by throwing up outside the cab.
As I reassured the first passenger, “Mate, don’t worry about it. You'll never embarrass a taxi driver”.