Tuesday, March 31, 2009

News from Beth and a taxicab-driving story

Boy, I am so far behind with reading my "Favorites" and commenting! Only got to the second one earlier this morning when I was reminded of a taxicab story which I'll share with you just a bit later in this post. (I had to take the time to read back through whatall I had previously published labeled "Taxi driving". I didn't want to bore you silly.)

First, tho, let's all wish Beth a happy birthday. I sent her a "Happy birthday!" e-mail about twelve hours ago. I hoped she'd get it. I thought, if she's indeed in Malaysia as she'd been originally scheduled - where their time is something like 13 hours ahead of ours, I could at least send it early enuf so that she'd get it while it was still her birthday!

I want all of you to know that I heard back from her. She's in Malaysia. Sounds like she's still in Kuala Lumpur, because she talked about 'sleeping in' and was planning on going to the hotel spa later. Tee hee! So, if she's still in Kuala Lumpur, that means she's running about three days behind schedule. But that's OK. At least we know she's safe, right?

Moving on to the taxicab story. It's true, as are all of my taxicab stories. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent - or, in some instances, fabricated because I can't remember their names!

The year would have been 1990. I was a relatively new cab driver. I was computer-dispatched to Methodist Hospital "ASAP". Customer would be going to IAH. I arrived at the hospital entrance within a couple of minutes of receiving the details of the trip on my computer.

Customer was there. No luggage. I asked, "IAH?" "Yes," he replied, "but we have to wait for something." Twenty minutes later, we were still waiting for the 'something'.

He didn't want me to leave. He wanted me to stay right where I was. I stayed. I didn't think to turn the meter on to register "waiting time" in addition to the flat rate to IAH from the medical center. I was too new to the cab-driving business. (In retrospect, even after many years as a taxicab driver, I probably would have done the same thing - thinking all the while that any second now the 'something' would appear, but let's move on.)

A few minutes later the automatic sliding glass doors opened and this white-coated figure appeared holding a little box ... almost looked like one of those Japanese carryout type of thingees. My customer immediately stopped his frantic pacing back and forth, grabbed the box, jumped in my cab and said, "Let's go!"

I asked, "What's in the box?" "A heart," he said. "My God! What time's your flight?" "11:00."

I took off out of there like my life depended on it, but it was already 10:30. We couldn't make it. There was no way possible that we could make it without a police escort, and even so ... ... I immediately got on the horn with Yellow Cab and requested a police escort. Explained the situation. They didn't take me seriously. In fact, my memory recalls the dispatcher laughing at me!

It wasn't the least bit amusing. I got off the radio and concentrated on my driving. Ran through every single red light in sight, going 90-100 mph the whole time (even on city streets) and praying - praying - that I'd see a cop. I'd explain later, I thought.

Never did see one. Not a single solitary one! We arrived at IAH in time for him to make his flight and he handed me a hundred dollar bill, requesting change. !!!

I didn't have it. Further moments were lost as he went through all of his pockets, finally coming up with the exact amount due ... no tip, no waiting time, nothing extra. A brief "Thank you!" and off he went.

Can you believe it? Even all these years later, I'm having trouble believing it!


Craig Peihopa said...

Ingratitude is a strange thing Goldenrod. How rude not to have said thanks and left you the $100 bill. For the jeans for Genes painting I did, I was standing outside the shop realising the frames would not fit in or on my car when a disabled Taxi van arrived opposite dropping off some passengers, when they alighted from the cab I approached and said to the driver, I will give you $50 to take this to my house 10 mins away, YEP was his answer, and the rest is history.
Happy Birthday to your friend in Malaysia, selamat Datang! She is closer to me than to you...geographically speaking!

Goldenrod said...

He SAID, "Thanks!" I think that he was probably as discombobulated as I was. (I know that I didn't stop shaking until many minutes later. That was one scary ride. I wasn't sure my car could even GO that fast, tell you the truth!) I'm sure, in retrospect from his vantage point, he wished that he'd given me the whole hundred.

All the while I was writing about where Beth is, I was thinking about how close she is to where you live, Craig. (I'm even a little jealous.) She reads my blog posts. Hope she can find someone to interpret your message!

Tammy said...

Too bad Beth doesn't have a blog of her own...I bet she'll have some stories to tell when she gets home!

Your taxi driving story...wow.

Chuck said...

"praying - praying - that I'd see a cop. I'd explain later, I thought."

After the incident with the football player speeding to the hospital to see his dying mom-in-law, maybe it's good you didn't get stopped!

Goldenrod said...

Beth'll probably never start her own blog. She's too busy with work, commuting, taking care of her family and entertaining friends when she's here, but you're right ... she'll have a bunch of good stories to tell!

That incident with the cop occurred in Dallas, I believe, just this past week or so. But it could have been anywhere in the South, Chuck, I'm sorry to write. There appears to be very much a double standard down here ... even in this day and age.

You know, when I was living in the North, I don't recall hearing stories like these. But then I was in a very different place emotionally. The news didn't travel like raging wildfires then, either.