Taxi !

Anyone else here ever drive a hack ? It offers a unique insight into human behavior, believe it or not. People are unbelievably forthcoming about anything and everything, when riding in a cab. A great view into people’s honest thoughts and feelings about everything and everyone. You’ve seen Taxicab Confessions ? It’s much weirder than that, but that offers a taste of the experience.

Do share some crazy stories please!

I did a few years ago. For one day shift. It was a snowy day in a hilly town on the north shore of Long Island. The car had nearly bald tires, bad steering and electric tape over the “check engine” light. It was mostly shuttling people from their houses to the train station, or driving Medicare/Medicaid folks around. And they don’t tip.

So all together, I made around $8 (cash money at least) an hour. Did not return next day.

I drove for a few years in my mid to late 20s, night shift mostly. It was a suburban company so I didn’t see too much of the rougher parts of town so only stared down the wrong end of a gun twice. It was at the time a cash only business open 24/7 and came to you so am a little lucky in that regard.

No big insights into human nature but it did teach me to pay very close attention to people especially when they’re siting behind you. Some people didn’t want to talk but when they did you’d build repport either as a way to feel someone out or just to build tips. A lot of people confused that with listening closely out of genuine interest in them and found it sotra flattering.

One very interesting passenger, a took an very nice elderly lady from her home in a western suburb to a hospital way on the other side of town but for as long a ride as it was it was almost all highway so it was quick, good money. When I dropped her off she asked if she needed to call the company to set up a return trip but I had a then pricey “bag phone” (an early cell phone the size of a small toaster with a shoulder strap) so I flipped her my card.

On the return trip, and this was when the OJ trial was going on she mentioned that she was a retired court reporter. I remarked that it must have been a very interesting career and she said it was but only sometimes.

Then she told me how she got her start. She had been a secretary in the US Army during WWII, primarily in England but as the command she was attached to was transferred as the front was moving she went along with it and after the war she spent a good amount of time stationed in Germany. The first time she ever worked as a court stenographer was for some of the English language portions of the Nuremberg war crimes trials. My jaw dropped.

At that point I sincerely wished we had more time to discuss such a red latter event in 20th century history but we were getting close to her home. But she related one thing I cherish to this day. So heavy was the pressure, so thick the tension that many involved took to heavy off duty drinking. Please picture the most charming little old grandmotherly person you can imagine with a twinkle in her eye as she tells you that a slogan they shared between themselves was “Every night is Saturday night and Saturday night is New Years eve.”

I paid for my last four years of college driving a taxi in the DFW area. At the time, it was a pretty good job for a student. I worked the airport a lot an I could study while waiting in line. It was a pretty eye-opening experience for an East Texas country boy who had only been to a big city three or four times prior to that.

I’ve got quite a few stories, but I don’t share them often because most of them are damned depressing.

The OP mentioned Taxicab Confessions. I didn’t see many of the episodes, but there was one where the fare was a small, wiry old man that was very drunk and wanted to find a “crack whore”. The longer the trip, the more morose he got. He started blubbering about his mother dying.

That was the only Taxicab Confessions episode that rang true to me. Been there. Done that. More than once.

I got one of the early, car-mounted cell phones and started doing more airport trips by appointment. I kept that business going for a little while after I finished college, but it started getting on the way of my engineering job, so I let it fade away.