Saturday, January 16, 2021

I am an experienced veteran taxi driver but I got blindsided

Originally published on 1/16/2017

I made a live Facebook video in the pre dawn hours of Monday  morning outside of 4319 Kepler Avenue, in the Bronx but I'm not able to move it over to this blog.
Heres the link:

Here is the story: 

Every New Yorker who's the least bit street wise will tell you that a taxi driver may not refuse to serve a prospective passenger. Actually there are a few exceptions to this rule. One important exception holds that a driver may refuse to serve a "disorderly or intoxicated" passenger : ¶ 2-50 (9). As a practical matter I realize that many of my passengers have had a few drinks, and possibly a few tokes or even a line or two of cocaine. Some passengers will be "disorderly" too, but if these factors are minimal I will serve such persons.

It's also common knowledge in New York that some taxi drivers refuse to serve some prospective passengers due to their perceived "race" or ethnicity. That's immoral, violative of Taxi and Limousine Commission rules and of Federal, State and City Civil Rights laws. Actually this offense can result in criminal prosecution, though this is rare almost to the point of non existence. Needless to say, as it's a rarely enforced rule, it's often not complied with. It's also unlawful for a taxi driver to refuse service based on the location of the destination. Residents of the Bronx especially would attest to the fact that this rule is frequently disregarded.

Now, I strive to obey these rules because they're the law, they're right and because I do not wish to insult or disrespect a fellow human being.

I'll be 71 years old this coming April and I still work very hard. My old age checks would allow me a life of poverty. In addition other people depend on me.

And so, usually four days a week I come to the taxi garage I'm affiliated with before two o'clock in the afternoon to assure myself an assigned taxi, and even a couple of extra hours to make some money. I'm not complaining. I like to work. I like driving. I like conversation. I like listening to good music on the radio. But after 12 - 14 hours of driving I'm tired and the muscles in my back are in spasm.

Now, around one o'clock on Monday morning I was heading uptown on Bowery empty and stopped at a red light on the southeast corner of Delancey Street. A young white woman followed by a young Black woman were approaching my taxi. The white woman tapped on the front passenger window. I lowered the window and she asked me if I'd take her friend to the Bronx. I should have asked why her friend couldn't speak for herself, but me, mister nice guy, I just said "sure, of course." The Black lady got in the car. I soon realized that she was quite drunk, but I've dealt with this before and I didn't want to exercise my right to refuse her and leave her friendless and vulnerable on the street.

Now, when we got to 4319 Kepler Avenue I had to put the rear speakers on blast to wake her up since my urging her to wake up was to no avail. She muttered something about having to call her boyfriend and proceeded to stare at her cell phone. At my urging, after a few minutes she made a phone call. There was no response. I asked her if she had a credit card. She ignored me and went back to staring at her phone. I again prevailed upon her to make the phone call. For the second time  there was no answer. Here is where I went live on Facebook. Her third effort was the charm. Boyfriend picked up his phone. She reported that I was being an asshole. Boyfriend, a blond haired white guy, came outside. No he didn' t thank me for taking his drunk girlfriend safely home. He didn't apologize for wasting my time.  The rest is on my Facebook video.