So, as promised, my experience as a taxi driver. As I mentioned in the previous post, I drove my father-in-law’s taxi for him after he had suffered a massive and unforeseen heart attack.
I drove his taxi for a year until he was struggling so much financially that he was forced to sell it. However, I helped him and his wife out by doing as much as I could. What follows are real incidents that took place whilst I drove his black and white cab.
It’s important that you understand when I actually found the time to drive. At the time I was working my regular job full time, 5 days a week, Monday to Friday working 3 shift patterns. When I clocked out at 2pm I’d start driving the taxi about 3pm until about midnight. When I clocked out at 10pm, I’d get into the taxi straight away and work until 3 in the morning. When I worked nights through the week, I couldn’t drive during the week but drove all weekend, every weekend. At the weekend I’d start driving at 9am and finish anytime after 4am the next day. I kept this routine up for just over a year until the taxi was sold.
The first time I started driving the cab I found it a little daunting because even then, I was a little anxious around strangers. But I quickly got used to it and discovered I actually enjoyed it most of the time. The people who got into the taxi were from all walks of life.
I remember one chap who jumped in whilst I was parked on the ‘Rail’ a taxi rank situated just outside the local railway station. On this particular day I was first in line and watched intently as this tall, tanned gentleman took overly long strides in my direction. (Sort of like the minister for funny walks from Monty Python) He opened the door, threw his backpack onto the back seat, sat down next to me and said, with an unusual accent “Dronfield please buddy”. The drive took about 20 minutes in the rush hour, and during that time this guy, who I didn’t know, opened up to me. It appeared that I had a gold miner sat beside me. (I thought they were extinct) He had been working in the rainforest of Tanzania. He explained to me (It became obvious he was extremely prejudiced) that he worked in the rainforest, heading a team of gold miners who were all black. He spat the words out of his mouth as if they were poison. He said it felt great to be surrounded by white faces because he worked with “Darkies” for nine months of the year! His words, not mine. Apart from his horrible and senseless dislike of anything other than white people, he did say a few fascinating things. Such as he kept a gun with him at all times because of the jungle animals that wandered into camp on a regular basis. Apparently he had shot and killed a couple of leopards! (What a tosser) He also led a group of local natives to a stream and ‘Persuaded’ them to pan for gold. (I wondered if his gun had helped him persuade them) I asked him if he found much gold in the stream and he answered with “Nothing much”. Anyway, I took him to his destination and watched him fling his arms around a middle aged lady before disappearing into the house. Apart from his overbearing racist attitude he was a fascinating character.
In the town centre on a Saturday night it was/is always heaving with all sorts of people, different ages, different genders, diverse senses of style and dress codes, different attitudes to life. The same as any town or city I guess. We had a night club situated just out of town when I was driving the taxi called The Bradbury Club. The general consensus was, if a person couldn’t get laid there, then it was time to give up and train to become a priest! However, it was very popular with lots of people, young and middle aged, and countless numbers jumped into the taxi and uttered the familiar phrase “Brad please”. One customer in particular sticks firmly in my memory amongst all the punters I drove the short distance to the club. It was a man, a large man, so large that when he climbed into his seat, the taxi groaned under the pressure and deflated about 2 inches. He was very tall as well, at least 4 inches taller than me and I’m 6.4. He had a huge, unkempt black and grey beard, so bushy that I struggled to see the traffic and people through his side window. He was very drunk but in very optimistic spirits. When we arrived at the club, he paid me with a good tip and departed the taxi with the words “Some young lass is gonna get it tonight”! I watched his frame fill the door as he walked through it and chuckled. Who ever “Got it” would definitely not forget it and probably end their night in A & E!!
There are lots of other characters I want to mention, but I’ll carry this on in another post.