Sunday, September 12, 2010
That’s All You Get
Almost every cab driver will get burned at some time or other, even if they only drive a short time. Theft of service crimes happen all hours of the day and night, in all 4 seasons from Spring, through Summer, Fall and Winter. They come in a variety of different types. The first are runners, which were covered in an earlier blog entry. Then there are people who end up having no money to pay the fare, but say that they want to. Maybe the boyfriend, father or friend that was going to pay, isn’t home, or they don’t have the money either. Then there are those who go into their house or apartment to get the money and never come out, and there is a pit bull in the yard leading to the door. Then again maybe they just refuse to pay and act like you are a criminal for expecting them to.
All three of these examples are an everyday reality for a cab driver, but this time we’ll be covering examples of #3. As driver #25 I’ve had a few episodes where my passenger would disappear into their abode, without ever returning. The first time that I remember it happening to me, it was when I picked up a woman at the apartments on Sunnyview that are occupied by mainly Latinos. She wasn’t Latino, or was very Americanized with light skin, but I picked her up at around 3:00 AM, after a Latino gentleman escorted her out to the cab. After the attractive forty year old woman told me her address, I drove her there, and she gave me $5.00 and went into her condo to get the other $2.50. Unfortunately, I was new and didn’t get the unit number and didn’t pay attention to where she went. After about 10 minutes of waiting, I realized that I had been had.
Then there was the drunk from the Silver Dollar, right after A-Cab went under. He was going to a trailer park in Keizer and said that he always took ACab and that Fred, who was #27 was his driver. I told him that ACab went out of business and that some of their drivers were now with Yellow Cab. He said that he’d buy the driver cigarettes, and pay $10.00, and asked me if I smoked. When I told him that I didn’t he told me to pull into the Smoker Friendly outlet we were coming up to. Then he got out, while I turned the time meter on and watched him walk up to the wall about 10 feet from the door. He had his back turned to me and his hands in front with his head down. After a minute, he proceeded into the store and when he came out the meter was over $5.00, so it would probably run around $25.00 to get him to his place. He handed me a pack of Marboro Red 100’s and I handed them back to him, saying that I’d just throw them away.
“Okay, I forgot,” he said, “you like Camels, I can exchange them.”
By this time I was starting to get concerned about his behavior and asked him if he still wanted me to drive him.
“Yes!” He told me
“Okay,” I said, “but it’s going to cost you more than $10.00. It will be whatever the meter says,” then I asked him if there was a way that he preferred to go, and he said, “take Hawthorne to Chemawa.”
As we got into the dark and semi deserted part of the trip, and my passenger began to tell me, “All your going to get is $10.00,” I pulled over and was going to tell him to get out, but then I remembered the last time I tried to get rid of a drunk passenger on a deserted road, after giving me problems, so I just asked him, “do you want me to drive you?” He motioned with his hand to go on, and said, “go!” So I began driving again, and after a few minutes, the meter was over $15.00 and he began to more emphatically tell me that he was only going to pay me $10.00. His vociferous exclamations evoked a mixture of emotions from me as I proceeded to his trailer park. When we were on River road, he told me that I better not call the cops on him because he’s friends with all the Keizer police.
When I pulled up to his address, he got out and threw a $10.00 bill at me and said, “get the fuck out of here.” When I didn’t immediately move, so I could verify the address, he began to jump up and down and scream for me to get moving. When I told the dispatcher what happened, he said to call 911 and have the police collect the money. When the police finally arrived they told me that the guy was a nuisance and that they were at his house nearly every week for something. They wanted to know if I wanted them to arrest him or just get the money. I told them that I just wanted the money, and they left to get it. About 20 minutes later they returned with the remainder of my fare, and it all happened in less than an hour.