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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Afraid in a taxi: what would you do?

Have you ever been in a taxi and afraid?

There have been three such occasions in my life.

The first time I visited NYC I took a limo from my hotel to the airport. The driver tried to increase the price by 50% once I was in the car. I refused and he went a little ballistic, making me wonder where in the hell he intended to drop me.  I simply asked for his chauffeur license number, and (surprising to me) he calmly proceeded to the airport, no more discussion and politely dropped me off at our agreed upon price. I suspect he was lacking an important document.

Second event: a few months ago I took a short taxi ride in Paris. The driver was angry with me for not having the correct change and threatened to keep my €20 for a €8 fare. It was late and I was not sure I had options. Amazingly my neighbor who runs a wine store in my building was hosting a tasting which was just breaking up. They all came out to see what the problem was, and soon I had my correct change in hand and was safely home.

Today was in some ways the most shocking. When I entered the taxi, I noticed the meter was already at €20.70, a ridiculous starting amount. I brought it to the driver's attention. He began shouting at me and told me to get out of his taxi in the middle of the street! I agreed to do so providing he deposited me at a safe address, and proceeded to record his taxi number to report this to the office. While I was on the phone to his office manager, the driver stopped at a nearby office building, took my arm and forced me out of his taxi. I was equal parts shocked and angry. The office manager I spoke to was in disbelief I think.  Although I was not afraid of the driver, his behaviour clearly has no place in a civilized world. Alpha Taxi and taxi number 5059 by the way if you wish to avoid a similar situation.

Anyway the next driver from G7 was friendly, polite, and charged me only €24 for the whole ride! It was a Forrest Gump kind of day, with no way of knowing what I would get next!

My question is: what would you do in such a situation?

8 comments:

  1. Holy moses! 1) That's scary. 2) You are so gutsy to complain in French in the moment. Totally impressed.

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  2. I think I was too mad to be scared!

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  3. Bet cabbies think they can push women around ... never had such happen to me ... next time you get in cab act all exasperated and loudly say "I SWEAR if one more person tries to F with me today they are DEAD!"

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  4. Aw come on. This is 2012 Cabbies think they can push women around? This makes no sense. I should say that of the thousands of times I have taken a taxi, I have had 3 such events ever. So the ratio is pretty good.

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  5. Unauthorized touching is clearly off limits, but easily rectified with a strong verbal response. Grabbing by the arm is violent and demands striking back. Some might choose striking back physically if you are confident you can prevail. A better approach would be to strike back with your brain. I would call that taxi manager back (I'm sure he remembers you) and demand this guy be immediately fired! I'd back that threat up by promising to buy space in every local newspaper warning people not to use the cab company, report it to every TV news station, and threaten to sue the company is they don't comply. I'd tell him you are in the media business and your relatives are well know lawyers.
    At the very least I don't think that guy will do that again.

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  6. Trust me when I say I was very clear with the manager I spoke to, including the fact that I was next calling the police and that I am waiting for a call back from the manager to hear how they will rectify the situation. I am not going to do a campaign against them, and am over the shock now, but a follow up is in order.

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  7. I'm sure that manager got an earful! Hopefully he acts responsibly.

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