"Um, ma'am? MISS? Or whatEVER you are..."

I get sent to pick up a lady in a nice neighborhood, not really affluent, more middle class - larger than average size homes, but close together. It's in the sw hills and had just gotten completely dark. I get to the street and on the entire stretch of 2 blocks not a single home has their porch lights on and all have their mailboxes attached to their places so I can't find an address. It's somewhat irritating to me as I refuse to walk up to anyone's home that doesn't have a light on at night. I just ... won't.

I get to where I think the home should be and stop in the middle of the road, car running and try to reach dispatch to get a phone number for this lady as she isn't answering her callout. While I'm sitting there, apparently the woman had come out onto the porch and was waiting for me to drive up into the driveway and help her out, but instead of being a normal person and saying anything even somewhat normal ('Hey, I'm here.' 'I'm your fare.' or even 'HelLO???') I get "Can you get your ASS UP HERE???"

I look back over my shoulder and can just barely make out a woman standing on the porch of the home just behind where I'm parked.

Me: Are you talking to me?

She: Hell yes. You are the only cab sitting in the street aren't you? I need you to help me out.

After thinking a few choice thoughts I pull the car up into the driveway and walk up to her standing on the porch.

Me: Hi. Sorry about that. I wasn't sure where you were as no one on this street has their lights on to see the address.

She: Well, can you see it NOW?? Shit! That's not my. fucking. problem.

Me: Of course I can see it NOW, I'm standing 5 ft away from it, and it IS your problem if you want a cab to find you. Next time, turn on your porch light.

She: It's not my fucking house, I just clean it. Would you just pick up my shit so we can go. I need to get home and take my pills.

I just look at her for a moment and she gets a bit ... agitated.

She: What? You want a light? I have a light. Here. One second ... let me find it in my goddamned purse. HERE. Here's my fucking light. she pulls out a little flashlight. NOW can I get a fucking ride? and she shines her light in my eyes.

Me: Ya know what? I'm sorry, bu ...

She: Yes, you ARE sorry. And you can take that goddamned smile off your face. What? You think this is FUNNY? Are you STUPID? YOU were late. Aren't you people supposed to call when you get here?

Me: I tried calling but you didn't answer your phone and as I was saying before you interrupted me to insult me, I'm sorry, BUT I'm going to call you another cab.

She: Ex-CUSE me?

Me: Certainly. I'll excuse you as I'm SURE that's your way of saying you're sorry for being so rude, but I'm still going to call you another cab.

I turn around and head back to my car and she starts sputtering at me as I walk away ...

She: Um, Ma'am? MISS? Or whatEVER you are, you can't DO that.

Well now, THAT got my attention.

Me: And THAT is why I will never give you a ride anywhere, my Gawd you are a piece of work lady. And what I AM, is the person that hopes you have a nice wait for the next cab, I'll be sure to tell them to rush right out to get you. Have a lovely evening.

As I drive off I hear her yell at me "You fucking BITCH!!!" I make sure to laugh loud enough that she can hear me.

I called dispatch and told them what happened, the girl on the radio said "I totally understand, I took her call."


Anonymous said...

Wonder why people think they can be so rude to others and get away with it?

Tragerstreit said...

BWahahaa!! it is SO EXCELLENT that you have the power to just refuse to pick up these people. And the hell of it is, she won't understand that she just wrecked her own night. She'll vilify you in her mind and you will be "that nasty bitch of a cab driver", and she won't ever put two and two together.

jenny said...

sounds like she needed those pills REALLY badly. what a piece of work!

Paradise Driver said...

Let me guess. Dispatch discovered that they were suddenly short on cabs in that area or did they just misplace/misfile the call?

Every cabbie has the right to refuse service.

Michelle said...

Paradise Driver: Yes, we do have the right to refuse service, after we get them in the car. It doesn't make us the best of employees to the company, but alas, such is the life of a cabbie.

One thing we MUST do however, according to the city, we must pick up anyone standing on the street that can show the ability to pay for their ride. No matter what they look like. I'm not a big fan of this rule, consequently, I have very selective eyesight.

Dave2 said...

You are a far better person than I am. I am afraid that my mouth would have run off pretty badly in a situation like this. Pretty badly indeed.

Coldfoot said...

Ooooooo. My kinda lady. Still, I would have lasted about 1/10th as long as you before I drove off.

Your comment in the comments about "must pick up anybody standing in the street..." sounded to me like one of those myths that gets started in the dispatch office and takes on a life of its own. It's easy to check city codes on line. The Portland code concerning taxis is here: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=28593

The relevant law is here:

16.40.550 Conduct of Drivers.

No taxicab driver shall:

J. Refuse to transport to his requested destination any passenger of proper demeanor who requests services or is assigned by a taxicab service company when the taxicab is not already in service, and who is able to demonstrate the ability to pay the fare;

You can refuse service to any passenger who does not exhibit proper demeanor. I don't see anything about "having to transport a person standing in the street, having money".

Oh well. Thought you might be interested.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have made it past, "Can you get your ASS UP HERE?"

LeSombre said...

I love reading your posts.

I wonder why people are not more respectful of cabbies (I know it's not all of them). After all, they're nice enough to get you from point A to point B and chat a bit. Most of them.

I would have accidentally backed up on the woman, I think. You know, the lack of light was the key part...

Michelle said...

Coldfoot: Isn't this ...

"No taxicab driver shall:

J. Refuse to transport to his requested destination any passenger of proper demeanor who requests services or is assigned by a taxicab service company when the taxicab is not already in service, and who is able to demonstrate the ability to pay the fare;"

... the same as "having to transport a person standing in the street, having money?" ?? Granted, I didn't know about the "proper demeanor" part (so that's good to know), but I was more getting at that I am supposed to pick up anyone, no matter what they LOOK like if they "flag" me and can prove they have the money.

Sounds like it to me.

BTW: cute kids. :o)

Coldfoot said...

My intent was to point out that the city did give you an out with the "proper demeanor" loop hole.

My other intent, which I did not clearly state, is that there is nothing in the code that says you are obligated to pick up any shmoe that waves.

That doesn't stop the shmoe from claiming you refused service because you are a racist, or claiming you habitually treat stinky people badly. Even if you were a racist or a "smellist" it appears to me that would be a matter to be prosecuted under different laws. It doesn't seem to be addressed in the city taxi code.

Anyhooooo. Keep up the good work. Enjoy the blog.


Sizzle said...

you always handle yourself so well! don't take no shit from anyone. :)

Susan said...

What a piece of work. You did the right thing.