Thursday, October 21, 2004

DC cab drivers

Last week, I went down to Georgetown to do a bit of shopping - middle of the week, middle of the day so I wouldn't have to deal with packs of crazed people swarming the streets in their own mindless shopping frenzies.

After walking there and buying some stuff, I decided it would be simpler just to take a cab home. So, I stood on the side of the street, stuck my hand out and waited for a cab. There was one cab, empty, at the other side of the intersection, but since there was a red light, the driver couldn't get to me, and I couldn't cross to him. Meanwhile, a cab came around a side-street and stopped. I got in. Perfectly normal - you flag a cab, you take the first one that gets to you.

The other cabdriver, meanwhile, starts freaking out and honking his horn. At first, my cabbie and I can't quite figure out why. We get to the next red light. The other cabdriver leaps out of his car, runs over to us, and starts yelling at my driver 'You sold a brother out. What the hell! You sold a brother out for a $6 fare' (he went on for a bit longer - I'm paraphrasing). I'm sitting in stunned silence. My cabbie is sitting in stunned silence. Other driver goes back to his cab and gets in. We're in shock and awe. My cabbie and I agree that this guy is nuts, and he wants to get his cab number, so I agree to let him go down another street and follow him to get his info (DC cabs aren't metered - they're zoned).

My cabbie and I ended up having a nice chat as he drives me home - agreeing that neither he nor I did anything wrong. Besides, this is Georgetown that I was picked up in - the other driver could have gotten another fare in approximately sixty seconds. My driver said that in his 20 years of being a cabdriver, he has never had this happen. Well, in my 20-some years of taking cabs around the world, neither have I.


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