Saturday, December 18, 2010

"My Way Or The Highway"


Back in the early days of my driving career I was a Transport driver.I was married at the time with a young family.My former wife and I had just purchased our second home-with a considerable mortgage payment to meet each month.So in order to make ends meet-along with my full time job as a truck driver-I started driving highway coach part time on weekends.(Similar to the one pictured above.)
Some may think the incident I am about to share is more nasty than humorous-but none the less its a true story-and I can laugh about it today.
I was dispatched out of the coach yard to pick up a group of tourists at a hotel in the suburbs of Toronto.They were visiting from Montreal and were enroute to see a Blue Jays game at the Sky-dome in downtown Toronto.I had 47 people on board as we left the hotel.About halfway down the highway the coach started having mechanical problems.First the turn signals stopped working-then as we got closer to the downtown core-the power steering went on it.
So here I am on the highway trying to change lanes in this big coach with no signals-then trying to weave through downtown side streets with what was now "arm strong" steering.This was not only dangerous-but also a royal pain in the ass.
I managed to get the coach into the stadium and after all the passengers were off-I went in search of a pay phone.
I reached the company mechanic- who was at home on call at the time.After explaining my situation he calmly told me to bring the coach back and get another one.What?? I exclaimed-the companies yard is a good hour an a half drive from Toronto!
I told him to go get me another coach and bring it down to the city-and he as the "mechanic"-could limp this one back.Thats the way its done in the trucking business I informed him."This is not the trucking business"was his reply.I was now livid-and doing my best to hold my tongue.
"I'll think about it I told him"- and hung up the phone before I lost it on him.


I walked around the stadium a bit trying to decide what I was going to do.Actually I had already decided what I was going to do-"tell him where he could shove his bus"!I was really just walking around trying to figure out how to tell my wife-that I had quit another job.Due to what seemed an incurable streak of impatience- mixed with a short fuse-I had literally quit dozens of jobs during those years.This was not going to go over well at home-that was a given.
So I climbed back into the coach and headed for the yard-doing my best to get there before anything else went wrong with it.It was well after dark when I arrived.I just backed it into the waste disposal area-drained the toilet- and parked it in an empty slot.The office was in darkness-the staff had long gone-and other drivers were out on trips.So with no one to bitch to I just got in my car and headed home.Leaving 47-soon to be- pissed off French men at the sky dome in Toronto -wondering no doubt what the hell happened to their transportation back to their hotel.The phone was ringing off the hook for hours after I had gotten home.I told my wife not to bother answering it-as I had no intention of going back.I never did find out how they got back.I can only assume the mechanic was summoned to get off his comfy couch at home-get in another coach -and go and pick them up.Makes me think he should have done it my way in the first place.Needless to say that part time job was history. Probably didn't do much for the Francophones opinion of anglophones either. ;)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fair Well To The Drunks-Scam Artists- And Crack Heads.

Hello little old ladies and grocery runs.I have requested a transfer to day shift. After 14 months of working the night shift-I have had enough.I've been assaulted-verbally abused and threatened-cleaned up after grown men who have puked in my cab-and ripped off for fares to many times.I'm burned out, and its time for a change.
What other business requires one to continually have to argue with people to get paid for their services? The occasional hassel over a fare I can accept-but when I am continually having to call the police just to get some asshole to pay me-thats just bullshit, that I am no longer willing to put up with.
I made the final decision at the start of my shift today.My first fare was a sweet old lady who I got out and helped into my cab.She was thanking me profusely for helping her.When I told her it was no problem at all-she told me that rarely does a driver get out and help her.
That surprised and angered me at the same time.I mean I can be as lazy as the next guy-but jeez the poor thing was about 80 years old ,and walked with the aid of a cane.What happend to common courtesy?
When I dropped her at her apartment building,she wanted to tip me for the $5.00 fare.I refused and told her all cabbies are not the same-and that my being courteous did not require a tip.
As I got back in my cab I felt some satisfaction that I was able to help this lady- that I had left her smiling.
Thats when it struck me that, that was what I missed-the satisfaction of helping people out.Be it even just a small gesture such as that.
Prior to becoming manager at my former employer-I drove day shift there for 10 years.Which for the most part involved dealing with a totally different clientele, then one would find driving nights. Seniors-students-and also people with special needs.
I must add that of course not all my fares at night are obnoxious assholes-I have met and befriended many nice people that were sober, and even some of the piss tanks as well.
My former girl friend once suggested that I had become a little to sanctimonious-as I myself have been living a clean and sober life for quite some time now.I hope that she is mistaken-because that is certainly not my intention.The night scene is just not for me anymore-I find it depressing listening to my fares babble on in their drunken state.The young women openly discussing their sexual preferences with their friends-the guys talking about the latest shit kicking they gave some dude in the bar.The women wanting to trade sex for the fare-the couples male and female, doing each other in my back seat.I could go on and on-I have seen and heard it all.So hopefully next week it will be day shift for me-and if I get some granny who feels the need to share her favorite position in the sack-I will be sure to share it with you! ;)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lonely Strangers In The Night-The Unexpected Sequel!

Staggering out of the bar, she heads over to my cab.I recognize her as the lady I had for a tour of the town just a couple of weeks ago.Only this time she is visibly wasted-and has one arm in a cast.She gets in and I say "Susan-thats you're name isn't it?" She looks over at me with bleary eyes and Say's "oh its you -the blog guy".Yup thats me I tell her-well she says "now you have another story to write".She then leans into me, head on my lap-and starts rubbing my leg and lets her hand roam a little to far south for my liking.Whoa I tell her as I push her back into her seat.What? she say's "I just want to snuggle with you".Well thats not on my to do list tonight sweetie- I tell her.You going home?I ask her. Yes she replies-"no tour tonight-just take me home-unless we can go to you're place".I ignore that and start out for her house.
On the way I ask what happend to her arm-"got drunk fell down and broke it" she says.Jeez I reply-don't you think maybe you should get off the booze-maybe hit an AA meeting or get into rehab? Nah she says "been there done that".Not feeling in "the social worker" state of mind tonight, I left it at that,and we continued the rest of the ride in silence.

When we arrived at her place the fare was $20.00-she starts fishing through her purse for the money.But of course there was none-and she couldn't find her debit card.I'm starting to get frustrated at this point-as it was a busy night- and I didn't have time for this.
Come on Sue-I tell her-you're costing me money-do you have the fare or not?
"Yes-yes"she exclaims -its here some where!Here you look she tells me-and passes me her purse.
I hesitate-but then figure I won't get paid if I don't.But before I do,I ask her if there is anything in the purse thats going to "stick me or cut me?"(With that comment-I figured I must have watched to many episodes of "COP'S") But on a serious note,I really didn't want to come into contact with a dirty needle at the bottom of her purse.
Thankfully there was no needles-but there was also no money.Jesus Sue-I tell her-don't make me call the police.Go ask you're landlady or a neighbor to lend you the money.She's muttering away now fumbling through her jacket and jeans all to no avail.So I reluctantly pick up my cell to call the cops.I really dislike involving the police-when its a situation like this-a non hostile fare-who is just really messed up-hell I've been there myself.But I also knew if I didn't-I would never get paid-and I have bills of my own to pay.

The police response was rapid as usual(they really look after the cabbies in our town).Two officers in an SUV and one in a cruiser pulled up.One of the officers recognized Susan-and exclaimed "not you again!"So obviously she has had some history with them.He asked her some questions-inquired about how she planned on paying me etc.Her replies where not winning her any points-as she was rather vocal about her disdain for law enforcement in general-and this officer in particular.His response to her was "that she was really starting to piss him off"and for her to get out of my cab.
He then took me aside and told me "this women has a problem not only with alcohol,but with opiates as well".At this point he turned to Susan and told her that he was taking me into her house to go "shopping".He was giving me permission to go in and take a CD or DVD player or whatever I wanted to take and hold, until Susan paid the fare.I was like..uh...is that legal? His reply was "that it may be unorthodox-but its not illegal"."I mean fair is fair is it not?" he asked me.Well I guess so-I replied.Its either that or I can arrest her-he told me.
Just then a car pulled into the driveway-it was Susans landlady.The other officer went inside with her-and a few minutes later came out with $25.00.The landlady has paid it he said-and keep the change.One more thing before you go he said-tell you're fellow cabbies to black list this women-she is not to be picked up again under any circumstances.I'll pass that on I told him-and thanked him for their assistance.As I pulled away I thought about the last encounter I had had with this women-and how I had thought at the time that under different circumstances-I would have asked her out-YIKES! I sure know how to pick them!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lonely Strangers In The Night.

Its just after 2am-I'm dispatched to an east end donut shop.I don't see anyone around,as I look through the shop window I see a women slouched in a chair.She appears to be the only patron at this wee hour of the morning.A straggler from the bar across the road I assume.Sure enough she notices me and comes walking out the door.Well I think-at least she is not staggering-and she's rather attractive as well.So she gets in the front seat and promptly rests her head back-getting good and comfortable.
Where to I ask her? Oh any place she replies-can you narrow that down I ask? Well how about your place she says.Uh that's not an option I tell her-now where do you want to go? Well she says "I need to get some sleep-and I can't go home".Why not I reply-"I'll wake up the landlady,and since I just moved in-I don't want to piss her off",she says.
Okay I tell her-but you will have to give me some idea where you want to go.So once again she says "well take me to your place-you seem like a nice guy".Are you married-do you have a girlfriend she asks?No-none of the above I tell her-but I don't even know you-and you can't stay at my place.Why not she asks? How about because I am just not comfortable with that scenario I tell her.Fair enough she says-'then lets go to Niagara Falls".
I'm now thinking WTF? She doesn't appear to be that intoxicated-and I can only detect a faint odour of alcohol.So I tell her Niagara Falls will cost you at least $400.00-so what she replies-"I have money-It can be our first date"
What are you on I ask her? Nothing she replies-I have just had a few drinks and I can't go home.I think about it for a minute-and finally tell her-"listen its 2:30 in the morning,I'm off shift in a few hours,and I don't feel like driving to the falls and back."
"I can't do this dance any longer-its costing me money-tell me where to take you in town-or you will have to get out."
Okay she says-then lets just drive around for a while.Fine I replied-but I need some up front money.How about $30.00 to start with I tell her.She agrees and we run it through my debit machine-and to my surprise the transaction is approved.
So off we go-with her now leaning on my shoulder.By this time the dispatcher is calling me-asking if I had picked up yet?As I tried to reply-Susan- as she had now introduced herself-starts poking me in the ribs-and carrying on.I am now laughing at the absurdity of this whole situation-and answer the dispatch in the midst of her trying to tickle me."Yes-14 has picked up for unknown destinations"I tell him.
We drive all over town-then out to the country a bit-she shares a little of her life story-I share with her a little of mine.The meter hits $30.00-I pull into a gas station-and ask her now what?
Lets keep going she says-"I'm enjoying this".By this time from what she has shared with me-I realize that she really can't afford this.Let me drop you home I tell her-I won't charge you anymore."Well let me show you some pictures of my kid's and grand kid's first she says".
So I said okay- and shut the timer off on the meter.She takes the pictures out of her purse-and shows me some really beautiful photos of her family.I tell her a bit about mine-and that I to, am a proud parent -and a Grandfather as well.
She tucked the photos back in her purse-and says lets drive some more.So I run her debit card through for another $30.00-but this times its declined.That can't be she exclaims-I have my rent money in there! So in case its an error with my machine-we head to a bank machine.When we get to the bank she tells me to go through the drive thru.You will still have to get out to enter your pin number I tell her.No I don't she says-just close your eyes.She then proceeds to literally crawl across my lap and use the machine via my window.
Um this is a little inappropriate I tell her-don't you think? Nah she says "were friends now".
The ATM spit out the cash-and away we went again.As the meter climbed towards the eighty dollar mark-I finally talked her into to going home.We sat in front of her house and chatted for another half hour (off the meter) and I was actually quite taken with many of the things we had in common.
"This was God's plan that we met tonight" she said.That comment rather struck me-for personal reasons.I don't know if it was God's plan or not-but I do know that if she had gotten the only other cabbie on shift at the time I picked her up-she would certainly be waking up in Niagara Falls later this morning-and unable to pay her rent.
I felt good about that-my integrity remained intact,and I met a very interesting lady.One who under different circumstances I probably would have asked out.






Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pay It Forward.


I am a strong believer in "paying it forward".Whenever someone does me a kindness-I always try and pay it forward-no matter how big or small the act.
It became obvious to me today that an old friend of mine believes the same thing.
He won a small- but significant amount of money -to a working man-in a local lottery.
I have- due to illness-fallen behind financially,to the point that I am a month behind in my rent and bills.
Today when I awoke their was a message on my voice mail from this fellow.
He wants to hire me to take him to the city tomorrow to collect his prize.I don't see him often anymore and he had no idea how far behind I am.He has always been a nose to the grind stone worker-and struggled his whole working life.He is now in his late sixties-and still working.
When I was in a management position I gave him off season work-in fact the last time he worked for me he was so broke he couldn't afford new shoes-so I gave him a pair of mine.
This man has a hard edge to him-he was a Military Police Officer way back in the day.He beat the bottle many years ago-but still retains that gruff personality.One that many people over the years found hard to warm too.
But If I have been given any gifts in this life-It is(not always)but often, the ability to see past the rough exterior of an individual-and see their heart.
And Mr.P. always had that-he showed that heart more to suffering animals-then people.He was always concerned about strays-and even when it was a financial hardship he would-and still does I'm sure-donate money to the S.P.C.A.
 Mr.P. has not only offered me the opportunity to earn a big fare with his trip to the city-but has also offered to loan me the money to catch up on my rent.
I cannot help but feel God's hand in this turn of events-and for that I am very grateful.
Congratulations on your windfall Mr.P.You finally caught a break in life-one you richly deserve.
Rest assured that when the opportunity arises, I will be sure to pay you're kindness forward.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ode To Skunk!

About 2:30.am I am dispatched to a house in town.This fellow opens my back door -toss's a bag of beer in the back-and then gets in up front with me.
Immediately the cab is filled with the putrid smell of skunk spray."My buddies dog just got sprayed  and I caught part of it",he says."I hope I don't smell too bad".
"Bad"?? I tell him-"buddy you smell like you slept with the fucking thing!" 
Are you still going to take me home he asks? A little late for that question pal-you and the "stink" are in the car now I say- as I button down all four windows.
As we proceed to his ritzy home in the north end of town, the smell ripens and I get an intense headache. Its a $15.00 fare-and I cant get this dude out of the cab fast enough.He pays by debit and gives me a lousy $1.50 tip thanking me profusely for the ride.Ya well I guess you will be sleeping the garage tonight I tell him.
Its bar rush and as I clear the fare over the radio-I tell the dispatcher the situation.
Danny I say "my car just wreaks-looks like I will have to call it a night". He is not impressed."Just do one more he says-its a $40.00 fare out of town".
Alright I replied-trying to think of how to explain to the next fare why the inside of my cab smells like a skunks den. I decide to tell them I hit one dead on, on the road-thus the intense smell.
I pop three Tylenol for the worsening headache and head over to pick the fare up.
I arrive and two pretty young ladies get in the back.I wait rather anxiously for their reaction to the odour.They give me directions to their house in the country.As I am about to apologize for the smell-one of the girls exclaims "man it smells good in here." What kind of cologne are you wearing-she asks.I stifle a laugh and tell her, "musk" good ole "musk".
But I couldn't hold it in any longer, and I burst out laughing-are you two drunk I ask?
Actually no-were not came the reply-why do you ask?So I told them the story and all three of us burst out laughing.They still insisted the cab smelled nice, as I pulled into their driveway and wished them good-night. 
"People"-ya gotta love them!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just Another Example Of The Negative Ripple Effect-In The Need To Get High.

I picked up a young lady about 30 years old stranded at the local MacDonald's.She was about 3 hours from home,and somehow lost her car while on a drug run for methamphetamine.
Apparently this drug is quite popular in the small community that she lives in.She needed to get to Clayton* about 45 minutes from here.Her poor Mother-and this was Mothers day-would drive down from her home town to meet us there.The young lady didn't have any money-imagine that-so her Mom was going to pay me when we arrived in Clayton.
I hesitated to make the $125.00 run,with-out the money up front.Its something I rarely do,as 9 times out of 10 you will end up getting burned for the fare.
But it was a dead slow shift ,and it was obvious I wasn't going to make much money in town, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt.Hoping it wasn't just another bull shit story and that her Mom would actually be there with the money.
As we headed down the highway,the women started to bitch about the cost of the cab ride.I'm so sick of hearing this from people I almost stopped and kicked her out.But I held my tongue-and tried to explain to her the costs involved in operating a cab.
But I wasn't getting through to her.So I just cut to the chase and told her-as she used my cell phone for long distance calls to track her Mom's progress and smoked my cigarettes-that I wasn't running a fucking charity!
Which part of this being a business to make money do you not understand I asked her? Do you have these conversations with your drug dealer? Do you bitch at them about the cost of the illegal poison they are selling you-are these scum bags not in it to make money?
I went on to to tell her straight up, that I my-self had, at one time, issues of substance abuse in my life.Not the particular poison  she was hooked on-but poison all the same.
The conversation took on a calmer tone after that,and I tried to offer her some sound advice on getting clean and sober.She became more receptive and stopped bitching about the fare ,when she realized I'd been down a similar road in my life.
As in, I no longer needed to scramble all over hells half acre-and take expensive cab rides, due to my irrational need to get high.
As we arrived in Clayton we continued our conversation-and I didn't charge her the $25.00 an hour waiting time usually applied in these situations,as we waited for her Mom to show up.
So in essence I had given her a few breaks-and saved her Mom some money in the process.
When her Mom did arrive she looked weary and rather haggard-and my heart went out to her.
Addicts not only put them-selves through hell-but the people who love them as well.

* Clayton is a Fictitious town.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You Know You Have Followed The Straight And Narrow To Long When...

I picked up a really nice group of people at a local pub tonight.They were headed out to what I assume was their home in a rural area,about a twenty minute drive from town.
From their accents I gathered they were from somewhere in the U.K.We all laughed and joked,and listened to some good music, on a station requested by the fellow sitting up front with me.
When we reached their destination,this fellow paid me and gave me a very generous $7.00 tip.As he was getting out of the cab,he also handed me something else."This is also for you he said" as he passed me a small round piece of what looked like black gum,the size of a smartie.I at first thought he was being a smart ass-and asked him what the hell is this? (Duh) The guy who had to be in his mid-forties,just smiled pointed to his nose and closed the door.I was about to toss it out the window,when I got a whiff of it.It smelled faintly like pot-this is when the little bulb in my brain went on, and I realized it was a probably a piece of hash.
  Though I have no issue with what folks choose to smoke (I'd much rather have a fare stoned on pot,then pissed drunk on booze any day) I literally hadn't seen a piece of hash since I was in my teen's.
That scene is just not a part of my life style.But I had to laugh to myself as I drove back to town-the guy must have thought I was from mars!
As for the small black gummy stuff-I passed it on to someone who would enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meeting Donald Sutherland

Meeting Donald Sutherland today, was without a doubt, the highlight of the year for me .
He has been in town for the past week filming his new movie "Man On The Train".I had been cruising around town in my cab,when I got a call from my buddy and fellow Cabbie Grizz."Come on out to the west side plaza,I just had my photo taken with Donald Sutherland". What I exclaimed-"you lucky bugger,I'm a big fan of his".
So I immediately booked it west bound to check out the action.When I arrived the parking lot was all a buzz with the movie crew shooting a scene at a local barbershop.Grizz was off duty sitting in his big black GMC, camera in hand.Being a retired copper and active freelance photographer,as well as a part-time cabbie,the Grizz doesn't miss much.
  So I asked him, how did you manage to get a photo with Mr. Sutherland? Easy he say's,I just went up to him and asked if I could have my picture taken with him,and he said sure.So one of the crew on hand, took Grizz's camera, and was kind enough to take some nice shots.
Jeez I said you got stones-I wouldn't have the nerve to do that.But I wish I did, I told him. "Mr.Sutherland is not only a great actor,but also a great Canadian".Exactly Grizz replied,"the man's one of us Joe, a fellow Canuck,go on up and ask him,and I'll take the picture".
So after some humming and hawing on my part,and knowing I'd never get another chance to meet him,I said what the hell let's go.
As we waded through the crew surrounding Mr.Sutherland,I kept thinking some security goon will stop us and tell us to piss off.
But on the contrary I didn't see any security people,and the crew let us through no problem.
I approached the actor said hello, put out my hand,he shook it,I then asked if my buddy could take a picture of us,and he said sure, no problem.I was delighted,Mr Sutherland could not have been more gracious.
Now here is a famous actor,who has appeared in well over one hundred films,with his ego firmly intact.
I have never in all my years, even been close to a movie star,let alone had my photo taken with one.
You are a true Canadian gentleman Mr. Sutherland,and you made this small town cabbie's day.Thank you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

White Trash?

We have a driver who has a tendency to speak his mind when ever a fare pisses him off,which seems to occur quite a bit.
Yesterday he picked up this guy who was well dressed in a leather jacket and expensive looking shoe's who was bragging about a great score he had just made in a drug deal.But at the end of the trip-and it was a short one-he told the driver he was $3.00 bucks short of the fare.
So the driver flips out on the guy yelling and swearing at him-then tells the guy "your noth'in but white trash,get out of my car"!
So needless to say the customer calls dispatch to file a complaint.And bless her heart, the dispatcher puts it out over the air for not only this driver to hear,but the rest of us and our fares as well.
She was on fire-telling him she was sick of getting complaints about him-and if it kept up he would be looking for a new job.Then she raises her voice and add's "AND DON'T BE TELLING OUR CUSTOMER'S THAT THEY ARE WHITE TRASH!!"
I nearly pissed myself laughing,as the fare in my cab joined in.I mean I feel for the guy,the jerk probably was a dead beat,but I tend to say these things under my breath not out loud.Not very professional and certainly not good for the company's image.Then to have the dispatch broadcast it all over the air,well that just topped it off.As I have often said over the years "where can you have more fun,and make less money,then in the cab biz".






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Monday, March 1, 2010

The Pepsi Slam

After picking up two punks at one of the bars, I headed up the road in the direction of the destination they had given me.
A block away the female punk starts freaking out on me,hurling non-stop profanity.She insisted I was going the wrong way.I assured her that the street address she had given me was in the direction I was going.I've been doing this a long time I told her,I know exactly where your street is.
This all fell on deaf ears as she continued her verbal abuse.Finally after another few blocks of this crap,I pulled over,and told them to get out.
To this point her male companion had been silent,and in fact he got out of the cab.She refused to get out,and continued her verbal barrage.
I had more than enough of this drunken bitch,and told her in a more direct manner to "get the fuck out my car!"
"fuck you" she says! So I tell her fine,I'll have the police remove you."Go ahead she screams,calls the cops ,I dare you''!
I reach for my cell and start to dial 911-this is when she decides to make her exit.Meanwhile I'm on the phone with the police dispatcher telling her whats going on.
I don't think I'll need the police now I tell her-they have gotten out of the cab.
They didn't pay what was on the meter I told her,but I don't care,I just wanted them out.
Just as I was about to end the call,the female whips open the passenger door and starts screaming more obscenities at me.
Then suddenly the guy appears, pushes her out-of-the-way,reaches in my car,grabs a full bottle of pop out of my holder and slams it into my face.
I shoot the cab forward with the door still open ,and he jumps out-of-the-way.
The police dispatch is still on the line,and I tell her that I have now been assaulted and to send a cruiser.
As I pull away from this crazy prick-he starts chasing my cab.He's now throwing whatever he can at the car as I roll down the street.I roll for a block and this maniac is still running full-bore behind me.
Finally I see in my rear view mirror that he has collapsed on the road.I turned at the nearest corner to put a little more distance between us, and wait for the police to arrive.
And arrive they did-they swarmed the intersection-with one cruiser pulling in behind me, on the side street,and the rest going after this jerk and his girl friend.
I was really impressed with the police response-they were just terrfic.They had these two under arrest before I had even given the officer- that had pulled in behind me- the details.
I was asked to go to the police station and give a video statement of everything that had occurred.
While I was sitting in the station,I over heard the police talking about the guy that had struck me.He apparently would not give them his name-choosing to cuss them out instead.
I also heard them dealing with the girl-she was all mouth, untill they told her she was being locked up for the night.She was suddenly not so tough-as she broke down bawling.
She was charged with drunk and disorderly,and would be released with a ticket when she sobered up.
The guy was charged with assault with a weapon,and would be transferred to a detention center.He will remain in custody untill he is brought before a justice of the peace for a bail hearing.
The detention center is a nasty place-I hope the puke gets to share a cell with a  large dude named "Bubba" who hasn't been laid in the past year!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Can People Live Like This?

In a previous post I wrote about taking a fare to *Starkville.I grew up in Starkville,and lived in the area for over 30 years.It was a borough of the big city back then,and has since become a city its self,with an approximate population of over 700,000 people.
But how things have changed,Starkville has become notorious for  gun crimes and gangs,some people now refer to it as Canada's version of Detroit.
After dropping off my fare at about 2:30 that morning, I needed fuel for the trip back to town.
Starkville though still a very clean and well-lit community, is pretty eerie at this hour of the day.
Maybe it was all the bad press in recent years that was coloring my perception, but I still hesitated about stopping for fuel.
I thought I might wait till I was out in the country side to fuel,but decided to suck up my apprehension and stopped in a at a Shell station.
I was prepared to pay first at the kiosk,before being allowed to fuel,as I have encountered this in other large metropolitan areas in the past.A requirement unheard of, where I live.
To my surprise the clerk-who was visible from the pumps-did not require me to do this,maybe because I was driving a cab,with the name and phone number in clear view.
After fueling I sat in the cab for a few minutes and completed some info on my trip sheet.
While I was doing this a young guy on a bike road up-with the typical attire of todays youth,a hoodie,baggy pants etc.
I noticed when he tried to enter the store the door was locked.Apparently the clerk-and the many surveillance cameras surrounding the place-scan customers before allowing them in.
I saw that the clerk was checking this guy out-and then I heard a buzzer go off,releasing the locks and allowing him to enter the store.
At this point another fellow came walking up towards the direction of the door,but saw me,and instead headed towards my cab.
He tried to get in the back seat-I wisely keep my doors locked- and when that failed he knocked on my passenger side window.
I powered the window down a few inches,and he asked me for a ride up the street.
I told him no,I was not from around here,and not licensed to pick up fares in the city.
That was true,though my chances of being caught by a licensing official at that hour of the day were slim to none.
I felt a little silly about be so cautious with the dude,but I figured this isn't the Starkville that I grew up in-so better safe then sorry.


    The Starkville of my youth was rough around the edges.I went to a tough Catholic school were brawls were an everyday occurence.Guys would fight with chains,screw drivers,whatever was handy,or what ever they brought to school tucked in their jackets.
But most of the time it was just knuckles, and no serious injuries were inflicted.
Though a few of the guys I went to school with did end up in motorcycle gangs,in jail or both.
But gun crime's were almost unheard of,and if one did occur, it made the front page of the paper.
You could still walk the streets at any hour of the night-which my friends and I often did-with out the fear of being accosted.
It was pretty much an atmosphere of  "if you minded your own business,and didn't go looking for trouble-you wouldn't find any".
I can't imagine ever-living their today-it seems every time you open the paper,there is another story about the violence in Starkville.
Murder,armed robbery,and police chases, are now occurring on a regular basis.
It would seem that as every day passes,our big cities are becoming more and more like those in the U.S.A.
I have a friend who lives in the southern U.S.She was relating to me one time about her shopping trip to a Wal-Mart store in Alabama,where they have "armed guards" at the front door!
I was stunned-"armed guards at a department store??" I had never heard of such a thing-I mean at our Wal-Mart we have senior citizens with pasted grins standing at the door.
She went on to tell me that in the apartment building where she lives,there is an armed guard in the lobby 24-7.
Now that to me, is some scary shit.Is that what we here in Canada are destined for? Unfortunately,at least in our large urban areas,that may very well be the case.


*I have used a fictious name here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brotherly Love.

Just when you think the shift is going to be a total loss-you get lucky-then not so lucky-then lucky again!
I was in the office around mid-night debating with the dispatcher whether I should call it a day.With only a dozen fares since coming in @5pm and a gross of  a little over a hundred dollars,it was not looking good.
My buddy had already given up at 11pm and went home, and some others were just hanging out watching T.V.
I was standing there counting out what little cash I had,hoping to make the final payment on my cab tonight,and still have enough left to pay the company their split.
Mean while the phone rang,and after hanging up,Jimmy the dispatcher says "well I guess if your calling it a night you won't want that call".
Where's it going I ask? It was the Police he says, "they want a cab @ 7-11 to take a woman to *"Starkville".
Starkville...shit...thats at a least a $180.00 run I tell him.Yup he says and your top on the board,"do you want it or not?"Well hell yes I said.
When I arrived at 7-11 there were two police cruisers there, a women with a dog and, a fellow in the back of  one of the cruisers.
The officer comes over to my cab and asks how much it would be to take the lady and Fido to Starkville.
I give him the estimate of $180.00,and he balks and says "that's an awful lot of money".No shit Sherlock I say to myself ,and so is the $75.000 a year they pay you for policing this mickey-mouse town.
Can you not give her a flat rate he asks? No I said,I'm an owner/operator, and just as with any other business when you factor in all my costs $180.00 is a fair price.
I also tell him I want the money up front.So he goes back to his car and asks the guy in the back if he has that kind of cash on him as  the lady is refusing to pay-so eventually they let this guy out to use the bank machine-I get my dough and a way we go.
We are two miles down the road,when she says "pull into that coffee shop and let me out,keep $10.00(the fare to this point was $6.00) and give me $170.00 back."
~Just my Irish fucking luck~ So I give her the money back,and radio into dispatch with the bad news, and tell him he better inform the police.
A half hour passes, and low and behold I'm sent back to the coffee shop, where once again the police are on scene.
One officer is inside with the women, and the other approaches me and asks why I let her out.
What was I supposed to do I ask? I couldn't very well  hold her against her will.
Thats true he says,"I guess you did the right thing-but listen he says "just get her out of our hair,at least get her out of our district.
The other officer brings her out-and then "he" proceeds to grill me as to why I let her out!
Now I'm getting pissed off. I tell him "no disrespect sir,but I'm just a cabbie, you're the ones with the authority not me.
So he turns to the woman and tells her "if you get out of this fellows cab again, before you get home,he is going to call 9-11 and you will be arrested,is that understood?" I promise I won't she says.
He turns back to me and says"now, are we all on the same page here?"  Yeah no problem I replied.
~Like "duh" did he really think I wanted to lose a $180.00 fare!~
So once again we set off for Starkville,and now I'm itching to know just what the hell this was all about.
She wasn't offering,so what the hell I thought,I'll be nosey and ask.
Well she says, that was my brother in the back of the police car,they arrested him for domestic violence.
She went on to tell me how they were on a day trip up from the city, to see their sister and her family.
When apparently her brother started going ballistic on her for not wearing a seatbelt ,and criticizing her on her driving abilities.
So they pulled into 7-11 and started fighting,he pulling her hair,and banging her head on the steering wheel.
She fought back and managed to call 9-11.Why then,I asked,are you taking a cab, and not driving your car home?
Oh she replied, when the police  ran my license it came back as suspended
So to sum it all up,her brother was off to jail,she was off on a very expensive cab ride home,and I had a really interesting night,and paid off my cab to boot!

Friday, February 19, 2010

How To Take A Perfectly Good Business & Snort It Up Your Nose.

The demise of "Acme Yellow Cab" began the day it was purchased by *Hans  Nozecandee.Hans purchased the company from *Robert Jones in December 1998.
Rob had owned and operated Acme since 1986,and he ran a tight,no-nonsense operation.Being the only cab company in town at the time,Acme was a cash cow.
I was hired by Rob in 1995,to say that he was an old school tyrant,disliked by almost everyone who crossed his path, would be an understatement.But at the end of the day, hate him or not,Rob was a business man,and the company flourished under his rule.

   Enter Hans,who from day one I could envision putting Acme into a free fall,and sadly that vision would become reality.
Hans was the polar opposite of Rob.Where Rob came from humble beginnings, and knew the value of a dollar,Hans was a spoon fed rich man,who literally, at the age of 45 had never held a job.I use the term "Man" loosely here,as in reality,he was more adolescent, then  he was adult.
Hans came from a very wealthy family,a family who had actually given him a quarter of a million dollars to buy the cab company,in order to give him something to do.To bad they didn't just buy him a hobby farm instead.
Like any over indulged child,Hans soon grew bored with his new toy, and became less and less interested in the day-to-day operations, and especially the inherent responsibilities involved in running a business.
In just over a year Hans had begun to seek other forms of stimulation.He would go on to piss away vast amounts of company money acquiring race horses,stock cars and other assorted toys for big boys.All of which after a short time he would become bored with, and discard   at random.
  This is about the time Hans took up a new hobby,snorting cocaine.Our office became party central,booze and drugs became readily available.For the longest time we had a resident drug dealer hanging around the office on a daily basis.Hans introduced this fellow to the staff as being his best friend,but in reality he was a fairly high level drug dealer,and Hans' sole connection to cocaine bliss.
This individual became a regular fixture at the office,pulling up everyday in his Mercedes with his two loyal pit-bulls always at his side.  He didn't work, dealing drugs of all kinds, was his full-time occupation,and he knew a good mark when he saw one,and Hans was a mark with lots of cash.
Eventually Hans would spend less and less time at the office,and ultimately becoming an absentee owner.
I was lead driver at this time and the brunt of the operation now fell on me and an excellent staff of drivers and dispatchers.
This was Hans' only saving grace.The staff was like family,we loved our jobs and worked hard to keep things going.
The staff would later approach Hans and ask him to promote me to general manager,in hopes that with my background working under Rob Jones,I would know best how to run the place as a business and not as an "anything goes drop in centre".
Hans agreed to this arrangement,and the only time he would make an appearance would be when he needed to dip into the safe for some cash, to feed what was rapidly becoming, an increasingly expensive addiction to cocaine.
His need for more and more cash to finance this sickness finally got so great, that if he continued draining the cash flow, we were going to end up bankrupt.
So at this point I had the lock's to my office and the safe changed,with myself and the book-keeper, being the sole key holders.
Hans must have had a moment of clarity on how serious his addiction had become,as he never overruled me on this rather brazen undertaking.I mean how many business owners have to go through their manager in order to "access their own money"
From that day forward I  limited Hans  to two hundred dollars a day in cash.He would never ask how business was going,or even pass the time of day.He just came for the cash and left,it had truly become a bizarre situation.
  All things considered the staff and I had everything else running smoothly and business was good.Then of course the bomb fell, in the guise of the tax man walking in the front door.
As it turned out, unbeknown to us,Hans owed hundreds of thousands in unpaid federal taxes.
How he had escaped paying them for so long, with out the government taking immediate action,is beyond me.
But I don't have to guess where the money ended up...
In ten years Hans had managed to drive a 30-year-old thriving cab company into the ground-or should I say up his nose.
25 hard-working people lost their jobs after that fateful day-all due to a man/child, raised with absolutely no  sense of responsibility,and a horrible addiction to cocaine.
What a waste and what a tragedy.


*Names and dates have been changed for privacy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Romance & The Night Shift.

Actually I should have titled this "lack of romance on the night shift".As any eligible ladies seem to be few and far between.
Of course I meet a lot of "bar stars",and the twenty plus, piss tanks,neither of which hold any appeal.
Firstly I'm not interested in bar flies,and the latter are obviously to young.
Their is obviously a shortage of single, forty plus age women  taking cabs at night,what a shame. ;)
But then again the hours a cabbie must put in to make a living, are not really conducive to  a decent relationship.
    This is a far cry from my last job,where I was the general manager for a cab company.I felt like I had finally arrived,working a 30 hour week,making good money,and having a company car to boot.
There was no shortage of  available single women at that job.But then the cynic in me thinks that had a lot to do with the title and my income.With out going into detail,my last relationship there certainly bore that theory out-and they say men are shallow.
The good things as well as the bad ,don't last forever,everything in life is subject to change.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Looney Toons.

Its a nice place,two Mercedes are parked in the driveway.The fellow comes out gets in the cab,and in  what I assume is a mid-east accent,tells me "you take me to liquor store".
It smells like he has already had a few, but what the hells a few more.
As we are pulling away I mention to him what a nice place he has.Yes he replies, "I am architect",ah that must be interesting I say."Not interesting now,I have bad back" he says.I don't make the connection here,but then I don't really care,I'm just making conversation-which I will soon regret.
Buy the time we hit the store he has informed me that not only has he designed half the town,but that he also owns 18 gas stations,played football for the BC lions,has a 6th degree black belt in karate,his wife is a bio-chemist,and his son is a world champion lacrosse player.
Uh-huh,now I'm think'in this dudes a french fry short of a happy meal-a genuine looney toon.
Now he wants me to go in the store with him,and carry out his beer,two six packs!
I start to make a minor protest,about that not being in my job description..."you must do this" he says,"then they know  I am not driving".I'm thinking how does my presence in the store prove he is not driving-its not like I have a freak'in uniform on.Not that the staff even cares,their only concern is that he be sober enough to buy booze,and he was.
But not wanting to prolong this whacky situation any further I agreed to go in with him and carry the beer.
Now were in the store and he starts making bizzare comments to the other patrons about their choice of booze.
He goes over to one guy,picks up a bottle of whisky right out of the guys buggy and tells him "this is not whiskey,this is pony piss!"
Great I think,now he is going to get his butt kicked,"why me..why do I always end up with the wingnuts!"
Thankfully this guys reaction was to just grab his bottle back, roll his eyes and walk away.
Before he has a chance to have any further confrontations,I grab his beer,he pays for it,and I hustle him back out to the cab.
When we arrive back at his house he wants to pay the 13 dollar fare with a fifty dollar bill,which just my freaking luck,I had no change for.
"You come in house he says,I get you a twenty."Once were in the house,he insists on showing me around.
So I do the "oh ya,this is great,nice gym,yes beautiful furniture" routine-thinking the whole time"buddy please,just pay me, so I can get the fuck outta here".
During this tour we come across a dog walking around with a leash attached to its collar.The guy says,"I not here,this dog kill you." I almost burst out laughing-it was a bloody pug,it didn't even so much as bark!
But I humour him and tell him,"ya thats one mean look'in son of a bitch."
After begging off his invitation of a drink,and a lesson on how to make a million dollars,I finally got my money,and was able to make my leave.
As I walked back to my cab,I wondered how he had managed to acquire the nice house and all the toys,cuz he sure had some marbles missing!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl & The Drive By Cabbie.

Super Bowl Sunday,I have no idea why American football is so popular in Canada,but it sure as hell created a frenzy in town tonight.We went non stop through the whole shift,and at one point, had to call in extra cabs.
No doubt their will be a lot of folks waking up today, with super hangovers.
I was dispatched to one particular house party,and was not getting any response.I radioed the dispatcher and told her to move me on,as no one was coming out.
She replied that it was going to be a good fare-a $50.00 flat-to a town north of us.It doesn't matter I told her,"I'm not waiting here any longer".
I have a reputation for having absolutely no patience for people who call for a cab,and then take their sweet bloody time coming out.Thus they call me the the "drive by cabbie","if they are not standing on the curb when Joe drives up,he will just drive on by".
Actually I am not quite that bad. But it really does piss me off that people can not get ready "before" they call for their cab.
So she moved me on."We will wait for a call back on that one she says."
I do a couple short runs,and when I'm clear,being the sweet and fair dispatcher that she is,she radios me that the fare going north,is now ready to go.
"Car 14 do you want to head back to that address?" I don't want to see you lose a good run ,she says.
No I replied,"you know me,if I go back and their still not ready,I'll be really pissed off."
Yes "drive by" she says,I know." The call then went out over the air to another driver.
The fellow that took it was "Fast Eddy",a part time company driver and a good friend of mine.
Eddy and I happened to meet up later and he remarked "you should have gone back for that call".
Why is that I asked? "The guy threw me a hundred dollar bill,and told me to keep the change" he replied.
A $50.00 dollar tip! Not to shabby at all,very nice I tell him,"its all good Eddy you deserve it".
Ed's a hard working guy-who puts in a lot of long shifts,often on short notice.I was happy for him.


Of course a lot of my fellow cabbies think I have a screw loose.For the sake of waiting five or ten more minutes,I could have had that nice windfall.
I'm certainly not adverse to making money,but its just a means to an end,its not my God.
As long as I make enough to pay my rent and buy groceries,I'm content with that.
I love the freedom driving cab offers me,especially as a broker.I make the decision's on what I want to do, or don't want to do.
My philosophy is "that I work to live-not live to work",and that suits me just fine.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cabbie Camaraderie

It was a rather slow night in Beanville,not much money to be made.Maybe all the boys and girls were at an AA meeting,because they sure as hell were not out drinking.
Which left most of us sitting in empty parking lots,shooting the breeze.Sharing some taxi tales, and having a few laughs,usually at each others expense.
Some of the cast of cabbie characters out tonight included Kenny "the copper" a retired Police Officer and good pal. Ken's a great guy, and can always be counted on to regale the crew with some fascinating stories from his many years on the Police force.
Then we had Sammy "four eyes," a semi-retired scam artist, and full time sociopath.This guy can spew the most outlandish bull shit and have you almost believing it.He is definitely in the wrong business,he should be selling used cars.
Mike "the biker" was there as well.Mikey looks just like an outlaw biker,with all his tattoos,leather garb, and Harley gear .The fact that he has never even been on a motorcycle,seems to be just a minor detail...hmmm.
Then we have yours truly, an ex-trucker,former- and very temporary - Private investigator,and now in my 15th year,the longest serving cabbie in town.Oh and lest I forget,according to some, an incorrigible skirt chaser.
With a cast like that-and thats only a fraction of them-sharing some war stories,the night, though not very profitable,was at least entertaining.

Note: Names and places have been changed,to protect the innocent...and the guilty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day's vs. Night's.

Another week or so and my Cab will be finally paid off .Which has had me thinking about switching to day shift.
Over all the gross average per shift would be the same,but the tip factor drops significantly.
Sober folks are not as generous with their money, as they are, when they are out on the town, drinking and partying.
I have also gotten spoiled-or just lazy-working nights.Very few grocery runs, and no seniors to help in and out of the cab.
No walkers, wheel chairs,or baby strollers to lug in and out of the trunk.
My butt rarely leaves the seat for the entire shift.That alone isn't very heart healthy,let alone all the road food (or is that road kill?) that I scarf at the drive-thru's.
Day shift does have its advantages.A calmer quieter, and more rational clientele, is a big draw.
Being able to see house numbers, and street names clearly, would be a nice change,especially out in the country.(You folks with LED house numbers,I love ya!)
Though in town,one quickly learns,that the only house on the street, sitting in complete darkness,is the one that called the cab.People can be so bloody clue-less.
The potential for violence also decreases when running day shift.I make no comparison here with my fellow cabbies who operate in large Metropolitan areas.These Men and Women are at much greater risk, then those of us in rural areas.
Though we do live in a relatively crime free area,it is still very much a red-neck town,and thus we take our share of shit.
None more so then our Indo-Canadian drivers who are often the victims of racial slurs, and hassled by local punks.

I think the allure though, of running nights,is the freedom it offers.Having the town to ourselves,no traffic,lenient coppers who turn a blind eye to us speeding.The cops would much prefer the cabbies whisk the drunks off the streets before the fights and vandalism starts."Better off going with us then the cops" I tell the ones itching for a scrap in a bar parking lot.
The coppers don't treat these guys with kid gloves,and if they want to fight,the cops are more then willing to oblige them.
After its all said and done,I think that though the day shift has its advantages,I  might very well die of boredom.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just a Really Nice Kid!

Until recently the majority  of my cab driving career was spent on the day shift.The company I was with at that time had a lot of school runs.We would transport kid's to and from the many schools in the area.This was generally do to a child being banned from the school bus for bad behavior, a child with special needs, or just children that were not yet on a school bus route.
One child who fell into the latter category,was an eleven year old boy named Brad.
Brad and I hit it off from the beginning,my children were in the same age range,and I have always gotten along well with kid's.Probably due in part because I am just a big kid at heart.
Soon Brad's parents were requesting of the cab company that I pick-up  him up on a regular basis.
Brad was one of the nicest kid's  that I had ever met.He was an incredibly well mannered and confident boy.
We would often talk about how things were going for him at school,and always shared a laugh.I gave him a free ride on his 12th.Birthday which he thought was just terrific.
I continued to take Brad to school right through his high school years,I was literally watching this lad grow up.
I often told him what a good kid he was,telling him one time "that his parents must be pretty special,because they had done a heck of a good job raising him and his two brother's."
Brad's Mom was a secretary and his Dad was a trucker,oddly enough the same fields of work that my former wife and I had once been in.

Brad graduated high-school and I didn't see much of him after that.The last time I saw him was about five years ago,he was in his early twenties,and was trying to decide on a career in either  the military or law enforcement.
It came as no surprise that he had become a fine well rounded young man.Who would no doubt be an asset not only to his future employer,but more importantly to the community as well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Strippers Are Great Tippers


This past New Years eve I had the good fortune of  picking up two attractive  ladies who were going out to make the rounds of the various bars.
Both were already in a celebratory frame of mind when I arrived at their home.They were standing in the driveway having a drink,and wanted to know if they could bring their beverages with them.
Usually I don't mind people drinking in the cab at night, as long as they keep it out of sight--they often have them stashed in their coats anyway--but I try and limit this to beer cans,no glass.
As these two were drinking out of glasses I told them to finish them off or leave them behind,one of them asked if  I would like to help them do just that,and offered me her glass.
No thanks I replied "I think the cabbie is supposed to be the sober one."
As we left for the bar one of the ladies introduced herself as Candy (Imagine that) she was a stripper in the city ,up here in town to bring in the New Year with her friend Tara.
Candy turned out to be quite a character,kissing my cheek and holding my hand as we drove along,and at one point running her hand up and down my leg.She must be very good at her job I thought,I wonder who's going to be paying who at the end of this trip!

When we arrived at the bar Candy asked for my phone number. She wanted me to be her driver for the rest of the night, as she and Tara planned on hitting all the bars that evening.
That shouldn't be a problem I told her, as she handed me a twenty for the six dollar fare and told me to keep the change.
She was playing her role very well,and with tips like that (that was "tips" guys) I didn't mind playing along  at all.The fact that she was also incredibly hot looking never entered my mind...
Through the course of the night I had Candy and Tara three more times.Going from bar to bar and finally to a house party,the fare was never more then ten dollars, and each time Candy passed me a twenty,telling me to keep it.
After pulling in at the house party Candy gave me a very passionate kiss and a hug.She then asked If I would consider being her personal driver down in the city, taking her from club to club.
Knowing that job is usually rife with bikers and not really wanting to be a stripper's--or "ripper" as she referred to it--personal chauffeur,I declined, telling her that I couldn't use my cab for that job.
"No problem she said,you can use my car".Uh...well you know,this job keeps me going six nights a week,so I really don't have the time I replied.
"Well you think about it she said as she left the cab,and if you change your mind give me a call".
I of course did not call,but what a great night,I had made some money and had a lot of fun in the process.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Having An "Afare" In The Back Seat.

On a recent Saturday night I picked up a young couple at one of the bars.As I was driving them home  the guy asked "hey cabbie,can we have sex back here"? Ever the comedian ,I replied "no thanks bud,but nice of you to offer".He laughed and said "no not me and you, me and my lady".Sure I said "it won't be the first time a couple has done that.But be warned I told him,if you do,I'll end up writing about in my blog.No problem he replied just don't take any pictures.We all laughed and I dropped them off at their destination with out having to witness any back seat acrobatics.
But this did remind me of the night many years ago, when a couple did have a go at it in the back of my cab.
I had picked them up at a bar as well,and they were all over each other in no time.The young lady being the persistent one, telling the guy "come on, I don't want to wait, lets do it now".
Before I knew it she had hiked up her dress and was riding this guy like a rocking horse!
If that wasn't shocking enough to this rookie cabbie,the fact that this guy was married,and this women was not his wife,sure as hell was.
Worse still was that I had picked up this guy and his wife on numerous occasions in the past few months,and he and his wife had always struck me as an attractive happily married couple.
Apparently he had recognized me as well,as on arrival at his "hot to trot" lady friends home,he leaned over the front seat and said " you won't say anything about this will you"?
Yeah buddy I thought to myself, "I'm going to go directly over to your house wake up your wife,and tell her your a pig who just did a bar tramp in the back of my cab".Give me a break.
I told him no of course I wasn't going to mention "his ride in my cab",he thanked me profusely and gave me a generous tip.
Glad to be free of that awkward situation,I drove away thinking this job would make a great soap opera.

First Day Jitters With a Beautiful Fare.

One of the benefits of being a cabbie in a small town (with approximately 30 cabs on the road) is the repeat customers that you have, who often become friends.
Over the years their have been many people who I have gotten to know from their frequent trips in my cab.
One particular women has been a regular fare since my first day on the job,in fact I still remember the first time I saw her.
I was dispatched to pick her up at her home,when she came out to the cab,I remember thinking "my God is she ever beautiful" as it turned out she had a beautiful personality as well.
After getting in the cab and giving me her destination she said "you must be new",I am I replied,this is my first day."Great she said,well my name is Linda and you will be seeing a lot of me as I don't drive, and I take a lot of cabs."
That's when it happened...I started to stutter,I had just changed careers after 20 plus years as a trucker,and I was certainly not used to having a conversation with a beautiful vibrant women sitting next to me as I drove.
The more *Linda engaged me in conversation,the more nervous I became, with my words now coming out "bass ackwards".
Ten years would pass before I shared those first day jitters with Linda,I remember her laughing out loud and exclaiming "What,you must be kidding,I don't remember that"! Good I replied because it was bloody embarrassing.
Linda is still a regular with the cab co. and often requests me when calling in for a cab,she is married now with a beautiful family and her own business.Its always a pleasure to have her in the cab, as we never fail to have a good laugh at one thing or another...and of course now, far from being shy,she can't shut me up. :) 

*Not her real name.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

Some years back I was fueling my cab at a gas bar,it was the end of another long shift and it was pouring rain.
I was approached by a guy who wanted a ride,he was just going a couple of miles down the road.
I told him "sorry pal,I'm done for the day,but I can radio in and get you another cab",he pleaded "oh come on man I'm not going that far, and I'm already soaking wet".
So being the nice guy that  I am ,I said "oh all right get in out of the rain,I'll go pay for my fuel and then I'll run you down the road".
I remember it was $50.00 for the fuel (ouch) and I quickly went into the store handed the clerk a fifty dollar bill,got a receipt and was back to the cab in 3 minutes.
As we were driving down the road this guy was asking me if the company provided us with a cash float,I said no the company does not provide us with anything,but now I was suspicious as to why he would ask that,but I was tired and just dismissed it.
He wanted out in a school parking lot which again raised a flag with me,so after he got out and started walking down the street I checked my duffel bag, which is where I kept a Tupperware container full of coin change.
The container with about $30.00 worth of coins in it was gone,"son of a bitch I thought, that prick just ripped me off " and considering the short time I was out of the cab at the gas bar,he was damn quick about it.
So off down the street I go in hot pursuit of  this ungrateful  thieving asshole.
He was about half way down the street by this time, walking along the sidewalk like he was just out for a freak'in stroll.
I pulled in to the first driveway past him, blocking his path, and confronted him about the missing money.
He of course denied any knowledge of the money container,and was about to walk around my cab,when I noticed a large bulge in the lower pocket of his cargo pants.
Whats that in your pocket I asked him,"its nothing man" he replied,so I told him "listen asshole give it up, or I'll have the cop's down here to pat you down".
He gave me this stupid grin and said "okay man I'm sorry" as he reached down unsnapped the pocket and handed me my container.
As I took back the money I asked him "what the fuck pal",I do you a favor and you rip me off ?
At this he reaches in my window with an open hand and wants to shake my hand "saying no hard feeling's eh".
Your a real piece of work I told him,"now get your hand out of my face and get lost".
I backed out of the driveway and drove away shaking my head,thinking its true...good guys do finish last.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Robbery At 7-11

The majority of our fleet fuels at our local 7-11 stores fuel pumps,shortly after I fueled up @ 3am this morning the store was robbed.
When I got home a buddy and fellow cabbie messaged me and told me about the robbery.Which got me thinking about two characters that I noticed sitting across the road while I was fueling my cab.
They were sitting on the steps of a funeral home and appeared to be watching the parking lot.This struck me as odd,the stragglers left over after the bars close, usually just wander the main street,not hang out at  funeral homes.
When I left the pumps their were still three or four of my friends  fueling their cabs,and these two guys were still sitting and watching.
So after getting home and reading my friends message I called the police,and they requested I come to the station and fill out a report.
Unfortunately I wasn't much help in giving a description of the two as I didn't get a good look at them.
But after reading my report the officer interviewing me surmised that these two individuals were more then likely the culprits.
To many people reading this their response may well be "so what, robbery's happen all the time",but actually where I live they don't.
We have minimal crime occurrence in our area,and indeed it is safe to walk the streets at any time of the day or night.
So this incident  was quite shocking to us,and will no doubt make the front page of the local papers.
I read an article recently that stated cab drivers and convenience store clerks have the highest risk of being victims of violence compared to other occupations.
I recall thinking that this  may be true of big metropolitan areas in Canada, and for sure in the U.S.A. where everyone and their Grandmother seems to own a gun, but up here,no way....I guess after what occurred this morning,my thinking has been a little naive.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hide & Seek.

I was dispatched to pick up a fare at the local MacDonald's,when I arrived a well dressed man in his late thirties scrambled into the back seat.
"I'm going out to County Road 47,and I need to get there "quickly" he exclaimed.
No problem I replied, there is no traffic this time of night ,we should make it there in good time.
This is a good one I thought to myself,as I pulled out of the lot and gunned it up the main street,it will be at least a $40.00 trip.
I had only gone about three blocks when a police cruiser pulled in behind me and lit me up with his flashing lights.
"Damn" I said aloud to my passenger,I'm getting pulled over,"guess I gunned it a bit to much", I was startled by my fares response,"no he says,its me they want".
The police officer approached my window and as I reached for my documentation,he says "relax its your passenger that I want to talk to"
At this point he opens my rear door and starts to berate my fare in no uncertain terms,leaving him with the warning "this is your lucky day pal,I'm going to let this cabbie take you home,instead of me taking you to jail,don't let it happen again".
Apparently the police were behind this fellow on the highway,suspicious that he might be impaired,they were going to pull him over.
But he had deked in to the MacDonalds parking lot,parked his car and had gone in one door and out the other,which is where he had called for the cab.
As we pulled away this fellow almost wept with relief that he had not been arrested,"I'm a small business owner in the city he said,an impaired charge would have ruined me".
This indeed was his lucky day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Deeds Speak.

When your dispatched to a residence in the middle of the night,and the person comes out holding a child, you can be pretty certain its a hospital run.
This particular night a young fellow came out holding a little one in his arms,he buckled him in a car seat,and off we went to the emergency room.
The child was unusually quiet,and I asked this fellow what was wrong with him,"he has a really high fever he replied".
Oh that's not good I said ,but not to worry, I'll have you up to the hospital in no time.
He then asked if on the way up we could stop at the local coffee shop,as he figured he was in for a long night,no problem I replied.
But as we drove along and he watched the meter click away,he said "I better skip the coffee,otherwise I don't think I'll have enough money to pay you the fare".
Tell you what I said,lets get your baby to the hospital and I'll go back and pick you up a coffee,and bring it into you,no charge.
That would be great he replied,so I dropped them off and zipped back into town and grabbed him his java.
I am a firm believer in the Golden Rule "do on to others as you would have them do onto you".

If They Only Knew.

It's a Saturday night, I take a radio call to pick up on the hill,a relatively new subdivision in our ever growing town.
Four attractive ladies in their mid-thirties get in, the smell of pot ,alcohol and perfume, permeates the cab,the girls are heading out for a night of bar hopping and dancing.
As they settle in for the trip across town,they begin to discuss the men in their lives,past and present,the focus being on which guy was better in the sack.
From a brunette in the back seat its her present boy friend Shane who really does it for her,though "he is a bit to needy other wise" she says.
She goes on  to  tell the others what a great body he has,and how he has to stay in shape for his job as a cop.
Now this get's my attention...a cop?...and his name is Shane? I think I know this guy.
So I have to interrupt and ask does Shane live on Parkland avenue?
Yes,she replied that his place,you have probably picked him up before,he takes a lot of cabs.
Indeed I have, I tell her that her man is one big, mean looking dude- I of course skip the part that he is also an obnoxious asshole when he is drunk,which it seems is more often then not- who looks more like a biker then a cop.
Ya she says "Shane is a tough guy, but I have him by the ball's" her friends all laugh , I chuckle and leave them to their discussion,thinking to myself,if the guy's only knew...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No Sport Widow's In My Life.

I knew it was going to be a long trip to the airport,when shortly after leaving his driveway,my fare asked me what I thought of "that game last night"...uh what game was that I replied,"well the hockey game of course,the Bruins and the Leaf's,did you not see it he asked?
Well no I said,I'm not really a hockey fan,he looked over at me rather aghast and say's "your not eh...well how about football? Lacrosse? He went on to list a half dozen other sports,to which I replied nope none of the above.
I went on to tell him that actually I was not a sports fan at all,that really set him off,and now with a look of total disdain on his face,he exclaimed "MY GOD MAN,THEN WHAT DO YOU LIKE"?
Now with that comment he has started to piss me off, I'm getting the feeling that his implication is that I am some how less Canadian or less manly all due to my lack of interest in sports.
At this point I'm wondering how he would feel about me slowing down the car to about 60km,shoving him out the door,and seeing if he can do the "tuck and roll", again not very "sporting" of me...but an amusing thought just the same.
Dismissing that, I burst the macho bubble and went on to tell him how much I like books,women,kid's,dog's and that I have always been fascinated by the complexity of human behavior.
It was obvious I hadn't "scored any points" with that response, as he remained pretty much silent for the rest of the trip.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fishing In The Crib??


Several years ago I was dispatched to a small hamlet south of town,to pick up a woman and her infant child for an emergency run to our local hospital.
I always dread these call's,I mean why don't they just call an ambulance.
When I arrived at the woman's house she rushed over to my cab with the baby in her arms,and exclaimed that the baby had a hook in-bedded in her head, and that she needed to get to the hospital as fast as possible.
A hook...I asked? What do you mean a hook,what kind of hook?
A fishing lure she replied,I was stunned to say the least,but I put my hazards on,flipped on the high beams and headed for the hospital doing warp 9.
I made the 15 minute run in record time blowing through red lights and stop signs(checking first of course that it was safe to proceed).
On arrival at the emerg. entrance I told her not to bother fumbling for money to pay the fare,but to just get the baby in there and worry about paying me later-or never-I didn't care.
I don't handle emergency's well at the best of times, let alone ones involving children,I was at this point about as freaked out as she was. 
I am a parent as well,and was always worrying about my kid's,though thankfully fishing lures getting stuck in their heads wasn't at the top of my "Oh my God,what if list".
Later on that night I was called back to the hospital to pick this lady and her baby up and take them back home.
The Doctor had safely removed the lure from the little ones head and thankfully she had not suffered any permanent injury.
On the drive back I quizzed the woman on "how on earth did a fishing lure end up in the babies crib"??
She was at a loss to explain,other then it must have fallen out of her husband's - a weekend fishermen- vest,when he had laid the child down in her crib for a nap.
Hmmm I thought to myself at the time...that explanation sounds kind of fishy. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Trouble With Tommy


Tommy came to work at the cab co. about 5 or 6 years ago,he was in Canada illegally from Louisiana,he was looking for a cash job in order to stay under the radar of Revenue Canada.
So my boss with his ever present distorted version of reality,went ahead and hired Tommy to drive the night shift.
Tommy was short and strong along the lines of "strong like bull,smart like streetcar".

I was working night dispatch at the time,and I was forever fielding call's from angry customer's complaining to me how Tommy had kicked them out of his cab...or worse had kicked their ass.
He was an angry young man with a wicked temper,and it didn't take much for a drunken fare to piss Tommy off.
One night in the middle of a snow storm,a drunk had said who knows what to him,but it was enough to have Tommy stop his cab in the middle of the main drag,pull this guy out of the cab,and beat the hell out of him,leaving the poor bugger laying in the street.
I heard from that customer and the cop's that night,but Tommy somehow avoided an assault charge.
This kind of behavior went on for months,we were not going to have many customers left,if Tommy didn't stop beating the crap out of them.
When ever I called him on his rather poor customer relation skills,his response would always be the same "If they didn't piss me off,I wouldn't have to punch them out"
Great I thought,I'm working with a sociopath,at this rate half the bar crowd will be limping around town on crutches.
The law did finally put a stop to Tommy the slugger he was eventually charged with assault,fined and court ordered to take an anger management course.
The course didn't seem to help him much,but it wouldn't matter for long, as just a few months later Tommy was dead,he had a heart attack as a result of a drug overdose.He was 32yrs.old.







Young Love Goes The Distance.

Back in the fall of 2009,I was dispatched to the fairgrounds of a small town about twenty minutes away.
It was the end of the season for the carnival workers, who had spent the previous seven months traveling the Province setting up their amusement rides.
When I arrived their were a half dozen lad's waiting for cab's to take them either home, or to the nearest travel connection,which in this case would be the City,about an hour's drive away.
So all of them were good money run's for the cabbies,but mine was a whopper.
I was approached by a young fellow who was desperate to get home,he lived in Bridgetown,which was a four hour drive away.
I was stunned,and asked him if he had any idea how expensive that was going to be,I mean we were talking a 378km. trip,
that would be $760.00 at the metered rate.
Well he replied,I really want to get home and see my girlfriend ,"can you give me a flat rate he asked?
So I thought about it for a moment,and said ok how about a $500.00 flat?
When he agreed on that,I nearly fell over...who spends that kind of dough on a cab ride!
Apparently a 19yr. old kid in love does,because when I asked for the money up front,he opened up an envelope full of twenties, and handed me 25 of them.
Great I told him,let's load up your gear and hit the road.
It was a great trip,the longest fare in my career as a cabbie,and all as it turned out was because this young carnie was ass over tea kettle in love, with a Bridgetown girl named Cindy.

Note:Names and places have been altered to protect this individual's privacy.