Back when I was driving a taxi, I got a call one evening to pick up some guy named Roger at a local shopping center. It took me about 15 minutes to get there and, when I pulled in, I didn’t see anyone who looked like they were waiting for a cab.
People would usually wait out front or just inside the store, then they’d flag you down when they saw you.
There were people going in and out of the supermarket and a security guard who was standing on the sidewalk, watching me as I slowly cruised by.
I went up and turned around to make another pass. Again, nobody flagged me and the security guy just stood there with his hands in his pockets as I glided by him.
I found a spot curbside and pulled up, then sat there with the cab idling. Should this “Roger” character come out anytime soon, he’d surely see the bright yellow taxi sitting there and walk right up to me.
I sat there for ten minutes, then put it into gear and made another slow pass. There were other calls out there that I was losing money on, so I was about to call this a no-show and clear it. The security guard stared at me with a sullen expression, as he’d been doing the entire time I’d sat curbside about fifty feet away from him.
I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask him if he knew anything about someone calling a cab, which was a last-ditch effort to salvage my fare. Maybe he’d say the guy called and then got into another cab or took off walking. I should have asked him when I’d first arrived, but he looked like kind of an asshole.
I pulled up to him.
“Hey man, how ya doin? You don’t know of anyone who called a cab in the past fifteen minutes or so, do you?”
He glared at me, then opened the rear door of the taxi. That’s when I noticed he had a couple of grocery bags that were sitting on the sidewalk behind him. He lifted them up and placed them in the backseat before sliding in next to them and slamming the door shut.
“I was wondering when you’d ever figure it out.. I’m Roger. Let’s go man, I’ve been waiting a fucking half-hour.”
Well, what do you know? He WAS an asshole after all! Like he couldn’t walk the fifty feet over to the taxi, or wave at me, or.. ANYTHING?
I drove pensively. I didn’t want to be a jerk back to him, that never got anyone anywhere. But I had to say something, so I did so in the nicest tone I could muster up.
”Well, you know, you could have walked up and told me you were Roger. You saw me looking for someone. If you’re upset I didn’t come right up to you, it’s because security guards tend to stand around in shopping centers a lot. I thought you were on duty, I had no way of knowing you were the customer.”
“I WAS on duty,” he replied. “Up until forty-five minutes ago, then I clocked out, got some groceries and called a cab. Then I watched you cruise up and down for fifteen minutes.”
I let it go. No use saying any more about it. It was a short trip and when we got to his place the meter said $7.40, he gave me a ten and asked for the change.
I handed him $2.60 and almost got a nose-bleed from that high road I was taking, as I thanked him and told him to have a good night. He slammed the door without a word.
Roger, here’s a tip for YOU:
DON’T BE A JERK.