Okay so not soo much a rant as blank stare at the movie camera….kinda’ like Eddie Murphy did in Trading Places when they were trying to teach him about pork bellies in the market. That “you’ve gotta be f’ing kidding me, right?” look.
Its really quite simple. You call the cab. The cab arrives. You go to your destination. You PAY THE FARE. End of story. Simple right? Well you’d think so.
But noooo. I’m getting used to it now after a few months of driving, but tonight reiterated how utterly STUPID some people are, as well as how without morals, scruples and other bits n’ bobs that make people “human”.
“How much to go from here to blah blah blah?”
“20 bucks roughly.”
“Oh, I’ve only got 10 bucks.”
“Then you’ll get about halfway there.”
“Oh, can you break a 50?”
A fare from last week had a credit card decline. A fairly decent fella and one I’ve driven about before with no issues. After we do a bit of deliberation, he cuts me a check to hold for a week until the weekend. Normally this isn’t done, but as I’ve mentioned, he’s been good for it up till now, so I cut him some slack. (older guy on Social security.)
Tonight I not only get a bell (dispatch HQ job) for him, but its the agreed to night to pay up. I roll on over to his place.
“I don’t have the fare…but my girlfriend is going to pay for it.” —aside, I’ve taken his girl friend about as well, and she has always been a good tipper.
“Person blah blah…is over off of blah blah street?”
“So you’re going to square this all up, including last week’s 30 bucks, over there?”
—so we roll.
We get to said girlfriend’s place….a 40 dollar cab fare from the start point. He goes in to get the money. I wait. I’ve got his phone, his address, his full name as well as the girlfriend’s info PLUS I’m sitting in front of her home, so its not like I’m sweating a “runner”. Ten minutes roll, and I’m looking at the bid board on the computer just STUFFED with jobs (read: greenbacks I could be making) and about the time I’m reaching for my cell phone to call the fare to say “wtf mate”, he comes slouching out to the car.
I can tell just from his posture that something is up…and after just a few months of this gig, I can tell that the “mooch” is about to be tried.
“We’ve got 20 bucks.” which he tries to stuff in my hands. (mostly ones.)
Me: (pulling my hands away and raising my voice in what I’m hoping was a sufficient rendition of Sam Jackson from Pulp Fiction –probably not quite that good, but the look I got wasn’t shabby. )….
“Dude, you are now into me for 70 bucks, 30 of which I gave you a week’s grace time to pay up. Now you go back inside and get me the fare. You have five minutes until I place the 911 call and file the police report for theft. You either pay me, or you pay THE MAN, and then he makes you pay me plus him. Comprende’?”
“Aww man its such bullshit.”
“Oh not you, its just……” -starts to go on a rant about social security.
Me interrupting the start of a long winded rant of “woe-is-me-isms”:
“I could give two shits. You get the money now, or you get to ‘splain to ze Officer why you are stealing the ride.”
Fare goes back in the house…five MORE minutes go by and he comes back out.
“All we’ve got is 35 bucks.”
Me: –Facepalm first. “That doesn’t even cover the ride HERE.” I reach for the cell phone as I’m done with this.
Fare: “SSI pays me on tuesday.”
Me: theatrically looking at my cell phone wondering if I should just tell this sodden toss pot to frack off and call the cops…but…
“Give me the thirty five. I will be at your door to swipe your SSI card Tuesday evening for the remainder. If that card declines, you my friend are going to have charges filed. Got it?”
I take the thirty five and roll…and Tuesday, old fart is either paying….or PAYING.
Now before folks think I’m easy or something, this guy was a semi-regular who previously paid for his ride. Just an example of the teeth pulling this can be from time to time.
Bell call for an apartment complex over near Federal Heights right after bar rush. The background is that this area is seedy and can actually be a bit dangerous…but I’ve just finished rolling three AWESOME fares from Platinum 84 (strip club nearby) and feeling pretty good, so what the heck, I roll.
I call the number given to me by dispatch for the customer when I get to the complex. (No apartment number was given, so I’m not wandering about aimlessly looking for a customer.)
“Your cab has arrived, but which building are you at?”
“Um…ahhm not suah” -spelled like it sounded…at a guess a black female from the south. I’m pretty good with general regional accents having traveled all over the country for several years.
“You’re not sure which building you’re in?”
“Ahhm et mah sisters crib.”
“Then I’ll wait at the complex entrance by the mail boxes. Will that work?”
“Okay, I’ll be right there.”
Almost ten minutes go by. Its now the tail end of the evening and its not like I’m in a hurry to get the next ride at this point, but even so, ten minutes is pushing things. Out of the rear view mirror, at last, I see the customer walking toward the car…and even from a distance, I could tell a few things.
2. CHEAP hooker.
3. Cheap DRUNK hooker.
I unlock the door, and a wave of alcohol and bad body odor waft in ahead of the person…and here is where I find the stupidity of some folks to be awesome in its purity.
“ahh ain’t got no money…but mah fiance’ will pay it when we get there.”
Translation: There is a runner in the car. Two months ago, I’d have probably fallen for this…and did a couple times. Now? nopers.
“And where is your destination?”
“uh. um. welllum….oh…its ovah’ dere at the 7-11 on ‘blah blah street’.”
“Your fiance lives in a 7-11?”
“Oh uh…no…but its right by there.”
——FACEPALM and then………
At this point, the gig is basically up, and the driver has the right to demand at least collateral or a deposit up front for the ride.
“I’ll need a credit card or a cash deposit up front before we go anywhere ma’am.”
“ahh don’ have none of those.”
“Then what about your ID or cell phone?”
“I lef’ mah ID at my boyfriend’s place and mah cellphone is broken.”
—-She had it in her hand, it was on and it was the number I had JUST TALKED TO HER ON…oh and suddenly there’s a boyfriend as well as a fiancé’. -sigh.
“Get out of the car, go back to your sister’s place and sleep it off.”
She started to snap at me, and I gave her the cab driver “don’t even start” stare.
She got out of the car. I rolled as another Platinum 84 call hit the board.
(The sister was almost guaranteed to be a “john” who took one look at her from the door way and said, “hell-b-no”.)
I had my first customer barf in the car tonight, but as I’m MR. prepared, she did so in a nice big plastic bag (I keep a box of em’ in the glove box and a “Ready-Steady-HURL! one tucked in the map sleeve of the passenger seat for those “just in case-break glass moments.)
It reminded me why I HATE barfing. I’m a sympathetic detonator, and just hearing that in the back seat had me ready to hurl.
I felt no sympathy though once her sister told me they’d been doing shots of Jamison’s AND tequila…for the last three hours. Frickin’ amateur night.
Next time around these here parts I’ll toss a few anecdotes that make me love the crap out of this job, but for now, I feel better. 😀