FEAR & LOATHING

While waiting alone for the bus on Eddy Street a --- Cab pulls into the bus stop lane.  I thought this cab driver was going to be generous and offer me a free ride or so since it was so early in the morning.  --- Cab Driver asks "Can I give you my number?"  Me: No! Thank you (and I wave him away).  --- Cab Driver: "Did you hear me? Can I give you my number? You're not from this neighborhood are you? I don't mean to scare you."  Then he gets out of his cab, walks up to me in the bus stop hut and asks the same question about five times.  --- Cab: "I saw you walking down the street so I decided to follow you and you're HELLA short! So am I!  That is why I want to give you my number. Am I scaring you?"  Me: No, I'm married.  --- Cab: "Oh well can't say I didn't try."  Finally he leaves right before I almost soiled myself in pure fear!  This guy must have been really desperate for someone shorter than him because I was really dressed down and even had a hood on.  When I got home I called ---'s Cab manager and describe this cab driver to a T.  "Extremely short, overweight, Hispanic male etc..." The manager replies "There are a ton of cab drivers with that description. I can't do anything without the cab number". 

I needed to schedule an early-morning cab ride to the airport from my apartment building. I was recommended --- by a trustworthy friend and called them up. When I requested to meet the cabbie in the lobby of my building (a modestly-experienced security engineer does not hand over his address to strangers on the phone), the conversation turned sour quickly. "What, have you never ordered a cab before? Give me your apartment number." Umm…no thanks, Mr. ---. Goodbye. Now I actively share my terrible experience on and offline [AUTHOR EMBOLDED], I wonder how many other customers that call cost them. I rang xxx Cab Company instead and the difference in customer service was unbelievable - the guy even managed to wish me pleasant dreams so I'd be okay for my early flight.

AUTHOR NOTE: Fear is a staple of local newscasts. There are 1,500 taxis on the street twice a day. Each driver has roughly 20 per customers per shift, 365 days per year.  The total is about 1,000,000 rides per annum. What are your chances of something criminal occurring? What are your chances of serious injury from slipping in the bathtub? Have you installed all of the easily available anti-slip safety devices? The chances of something negative occurring in any situation are above zero, but calculating how much above zero will provide a rational perspective.

[--- are] usually very reliable, esp for downtown pick ups, and the cars tend to be clean and well maintained…The dispatch number can be busy at times, but I'd rather get the busy tone because they're operating at peak as it informs me I might want to get a cab elsewhere…The only gripe I have is that, as a foreigner living in the US, a lot of their drivers tend to start the "I hate America" speech with me the minute they pick up I'm not American.  It's a conversation I hate because a) I quite like living here and b) I'm try to think/check my blackberry/etc.