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Sunday, February 15

A Day in the Life of a Taxi Driver

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I've been asked to tell a few tales from my life as a taxi driver. Some of the tales aren't fit to tell. The life of a taxi driver is not an easy one. You have to put up with all kinds of people. You meet people from all walks of life and from all cultures. You are really vunerable, especially on the swing or night shifts.

I began driving taxi in 1982. First I drove in a little town not far from here. Then, I decided to get a taxi licence in the city I lived in. I succeeded the first try and yes, you do have to take an examination and have a perfect driving record.

In 1984, I bought a used car and took on the life of an owner-operator taxi driver. That meant all the money taken in was mine. Now that might sound great, but there was the taxi licence to pay for, weekly rent to the taxi office, which paid for the calls I received and also for having use of their name, radio and taxi light that was placed on the roof of my car. It could be taken off when using it for a private vehicle. It was attached by bungee cords. The other thing required was commercial insurance. At that time it went for $2000 a year. Big payments for a small town cabbie.

So that gives you some idea of what I went through just to get started. I worked the swing shift, which started at 11am and ended the next morning at 2am. Yes, they were 15 hour shifts. If things were slow, someone could book off early, but at that time I was a single mother and usually stayed. If it was busy, I would stay beyond my shift in order to bring in a few extra dollars.

A police call is a call that the dispatcher sends out to you when the police are involved and it seemed that I was always in the place to take these calls. Everyone hated them. You are going to pick up someone that has been involved with the police. He hasn't been arrested but usually has been charged. He often has been drinking and the police are sending him home by taxi. He's in a foul mood to begin with and not always easy to handle.

The call I'm going to tell you about today, was not a police call. It was a call where I picked up two elderly men. They were inebriated and were calling me names, laughing and being rather cruel. They wouldn't keep their hands off me, which is something I didn't tolerate. We came to a main intersection and I had had enough. I slammed on the brakes. I do mean slammed. The head of the man in the front seat bounced off the dashboard and the man in the backseat slammed against the passenger front seat.

I shoved the car into park, turned off the ignition, opened my door, got out, went around the car and opened the door. "Out," I said.

"But you can't throw us out," the man mumbled in a drunken voice.

"I can and I am," I declared. "You got five seconds to get your butts out of the car or I'm calling the police."

The men vacated the car and though I didn't get paid, it was worth it to just get rid of them. I wasn't about to take that kind of abuse from anyone and certainly not from a couple of drunken old men.

Another time, I will share another experience I had that was just a little more dangerous than this one. I could actually write a book, but wouldn't want my friends to read it because of the mature content.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into my life as a taxi driver. Have a great week and remember to take time for yourself. ~Blessings, Mary~

24 comments:

  1. wow Mary that's very scary! I'm glad you stuck up for yourself!

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  2. I don't think I would like picking up strangers and driving them around. I like your new look!

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  3. Great look
    I have a cab driver story as well.I was just getting ready to go pick up a fareand while leaving the cab room a drunken 18 wheeler driver plowed into our parked cabs destroying them.I I had left a minuite sooner I would have been in my cab when it got nailed.

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  4. Boy Mary, the things we do as a single parent just to keep body and soul together. You could write a book, just use another name! Hey I know you could write mysteries, kinda like murder she wrote. I like your new header, reminds me of those slinky satin outfits from the 20's. Not that I was around, I just always thought they looked cool.

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  5. Wow, Mary...I knew you were a single mother for awhile but had no idea you worked as a cab driver...and on swing shift! What a stressful time that must have been for you...not just the job (that alone gives me the jitters!) but just trying to make ends meet while trying to be a mom.
    Good for you for throwing those two guys out on their ear!

    Also, I wanted to remind you that if you feel like it, the Home School Open House is on Tuesday and as usual, you are welcome to join us! (Hmmm...maybe something related to Black History month perhaps?)
    But only if you have time!

    Have a great week, dear Mary~
    Hugs,
    ~Tammy

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  6. You Go Girl!!!! That's what I would've said if I was at the intersection...on a curb, witnessing your actions with those drunkards.

    You had, and HAVE tons of stamina and spunk....

    That, I like about you. Not only that, but.....well, you know. We're Irish. LOL

    Have a great day. [I'm up early, and now I'm gonna go back to bed.]

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  7. Kind of like the crapola one has to put up with when working as a waitress! Any job, really -in which one has to deal with the general public can be really difficult at times and all too often, people don't realize what is really involved for the worker.
    I can't say as I blame you at all for stopping and putting those fools out of your cab. I think I would have done the same thing. I know there were many times I would have given my right eye tooth to toss some customers out on their behinds from the restaurant where I worked but I'd have probably been fired early on had I done that as the owner of that place was a firm believer that the customer was always right and we, the staff, were always WRONG!

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  8. I'm thinking you were pretty tough to be able to handle that job. I don't think I could do it.

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  9. I can only imagine some of those stories you could tell. Yikes!! I never have to take a cab, but I will always think of cabbies differently now!

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  10. PS - I love the little graphic of the cab!

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  11. Wow Mary, you sure have had an interesting and "exciting" life. I am shaking just reading this story. Oh, the things that could have happened! So glad you are here to tell the tale..;)

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  12. Mary...you were an incredibly brave woman to take on such a dangerous job for the sake of your family. And I admire your courage in throwing out those two men for treating you so poorly. Good for you!!!

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  13. Hi Mary,
    I totally enjoyed this post as my Grandpa (dad's dad) was a jitney driver (which is sort of a stretch taxi) He owned a fleet of them here in town. He hauled the sailors back and forth from the shipyard to town.
    The tales he could tell..
    He also had a few women drivers that worked for him. They really had to be the "take no nonsense type"
    Thanks for sharing!
    xo

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  14. Wow! I'm glad you put those two out on their ears! Too bad you hadn't had something to squirt in their face! I'm sure you must have lots of stories that would raise the hair on the back of our necks!!

    Loved the story about Snowball, what a beautiful dog.

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  15. Mary
    You were one brave cookie to drive a taxi. Each glimpse into your life, I admire you more. Peace

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  16. You are one tough lady.. We do all kinds of things when trying to raise our children.... I drove a fork lift and dump truck and front end loader and went down in crushed glass silo's and shoveled all day... it would kill me today!

    Glad you were tough gal... so glad you are still here.......

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  17. You really have to be brave to drive a taxi... I'm glad you were able to handle those drunks. I'd read the book if you write it...LOL

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  18. I did enjoy the peek! You are always amazing me with all the things you've done and know about-a taxi driver-I would never have guessed that one!

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  19. I remember you mentioning to me that you had once driven a taxi but I didn't realize you had actually started your own business...so very interesting but wow, very scary indeed! My oldest brother drove taxi for a few years in Vancouver and he also had some horror stories to tell of that time. You just never know what you're getting into when you pick up someone. I'm just glad that you're no longer involved in that!! xoxo

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  20. You are an interesting person. I enjoy driving too and suppose most passengers would be nice. But those few nasty ones could ruin your day.

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  21. Well good for you, Mary! I so agree it was worth losing the fee just to shake those characters up.

    and P.S. Love your new "Do". It is really nice.

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  22. You take me totally by surprise every now and then ... and this post made me sit up and take notice ... first because you actually drove a cab and second because you handled this situation so effectively! I'm most impressed ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,

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