Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Melina's Diary - Taxi Crisis

I hailed a taxi to get to the airport last Saturday. It was early morning, not many people around. Usually, the way this works is that you either get a taxi in the first ten seconds of standing there with your arm out, or you don't get one for half an hour and it's a huge crisis. This morning, slow Saturday morning, it took ten seconds. A taxi saw me but he was on the far side of the avenue from me, and there was too much traffic for him to cross over to my side. So he just pulled over to the other side of the avenue and waited for the light to turn red so he could come pick me up.

In the meanwhile, another taxi saw me (though I had put my hand down) and pulled over right in front of me. I figured there were no particular rules about this, and the other guy had been waiting less than ten seconds, so I moved to get in this second taxi.

The light turned red.

The taxi driver on the far side of the street opened his door, got out -- leaving the driver door wide open across a lane of traffic, and the engine running, right on Lexington Avenue - and charged across the street.

The Opportunistic Taxi Driver threw my bags in the taxi and blocked it with his body, so I couldn't get them out.

The Enraged Taxi Driver lunged at the Opportunistic Taxi Driver and they started shoving each other back and forth, yelling respectively,

"I saw her first!", and,
"Get in! Get in the taxi!"

Neither of them was prepared to escalate the fight, though, so before I was done wondering whether to just abandon my suitcase and run away, Opportunistic Taxi Driver jumped back in his cab ("Get in!") and I got in, and we went to the airport.

Where he tried to cheat me into paying for the Midtown Tunnel when he actually took the Queensboro bridge for free, and then drove off without giving me a receipt.



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