Appreciated

I’ve just had a bit of a heart to heart with my manager about the job opportunity that I have got a chance of.

She told me she was a little bit disappointed when she was told I was thinking about leaving because she values me as a friend and colleague.

That’s nice 😊 She said she doesn’t want me to leave but wished me good luck with the interview.

It’s nice to know I’m appreciated.

Shortlisted

I applied for a new job about 3 weeks ago and I received confirmation today that I’ve been shortlisted. Interview scheduled for 3rd of February.

I mentioned it a workmate today and now everybody at work knows. I wanted to keep it quiet so only told my trusted friend!

Now the manager knows and she’s not too happy I’m thinking about a change of jobs!

It’s better hours, better pay, no weekend work and no nights.

It’s a no brainer for me.

Pity the management don’t share my enthusiasm.

I haven’t even got the job, it’s just an interview!!

Ah well, onwards I go.

So, Taxi

The larger than life characters came and went over the course of the year I drove the father in laws taxi. Recollecting one customer on new year’s eve makes me shiver a little. It was a man of about 30 years of age, well dressed, nice personality with an accent straight out of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. He came strolling alongside my taxi, bent down so I could see his very pleasant face and asked almost apologetically if I was booked. I explained I was a black and white so didn’t need booking. He quickly slid into the taxi (It was about 10.30pm) and mentioned before he told me where he wanted to go, that he had asked several taxi drivers to take him home and they’d refused. I said “Go on then, where are you going, Russia”? He smiled and said “Close, I’m going to Harthill, near Rotherham, if that’s ok please “? I confirmed I would take him (It was about a 35 mile round trip) but made sure he had the money to pay before I set off. He opened his wallet up to reveal a thick wad of notes. On the way, he was very chatty and wouldn’t stop talking, but I was mentally shattered after a long, long day. He revealed he was a bookmaker, and told me about the biggest payouts he had given. I found it fascinating as he told me about all the money he had passed through his hands and the money he had made whilst doing his job. It was true I was fascinated but my eyes were fighting to stay open. However, they well and truly opened as I approached a roundabout at a speed approaching warp factor one. I really was unaware of how fast I was going until I suddenly came upon a roundabout at the same time as he stiffened his body and exclaimed “Fuckkkkkkk”!! It was far too late for me to stop at the junction, and a car had just come into view on the roundabout. So I did what any self respecting Michael Schumacher wannabe would do, I accelerated to get in front of the car that was actually on the roundabout rather than the alternative, which would have been to smash into his passenger door. The other car had already slammed it’s brakes on as I zoomed in front of him on virtually 2 wheels. I don’t know how I got away with it but I managed to keep the car on the road and escaped off the roundabout without a scratch.

I glanced at my customer who was wide eyed, clutching the sides of his seat, mumbling “Fuck fuck fuck”. Of course I apologised but couldn’t help but laugh a nervous laugh as I half watched his (I’ve just shit my pants) expression. I tried to sooth the obvious tension that oozed out of him by attempting a joke, saying “Don’t worry, it happens all the time”. I think he attempted a smile but his face was frozen with fear. I think it’s fair to say that I could sense he wanted to get out of the taxi. He asked me to stop, saying he wanted to walk the rest of the way through the village. I stopped the car and he actually paid me! I refused the tip he offered and apologised again before he got out and walked away.

The drive back to town was endured with all windows down to try and wake myself up with the aid of a cold, inrushing wind.

Thankfully, that was the closest I ever came to an accident whilst I drove the taxi.

Taxiiiiiii Characters

Continuing my experiences as a taxi driver. As I mentioned in the last post, I would park up on the ‘Rail’ to wait with all the other taxis for people getting off the trains that passed through Chesterfield. I remember a little old lady walking out of the station, looking a bit unsteady on her feet. She looked over towards the taxi rank and I was first in line. I saw she was heading over in my direction so I quickly got out and walked over to help her with her shopping bag. As I reached her side my nose was punched (sorry) by the unmistakable aroma of vintage urine!

Nevertheless, I walked with her holding her hand and thought quickly on what seemed like a 5 mile journey to the taxi. I stepped in front of her and politely asked her to wait just a second whilst I got a carrier bag out of the boot, using the excuse that a previous customer had spilt a drink on the seat she was about to sit on (White lie) I placed the bag into position and helped her in. When her bottom hit the seat the aroma seemed to refresh itself ! I hurried around the car and asked in my best, kindest taxi voice “Where to my dear”? She replied “Clay Cross please” and I sped off with the window open. On the way to her destination, it was only 5 or 6 miles, she very sweetly confessed that she didn’t have enough money for the fare. I was halfway there and she apologised saying she was so sorry and that I could stop the car and let her walk the rest of the way if I wanted to. (The old pulling on the heartstrings routine) But, I felt sorry for her so I assured her that I’d take her home, no problem. She got out of the taxi and I carried her bag for her to a bungalow.

She thanked me several times for being kind until I got back into the car and drove back to town. I couldn’t help thinking on the drive back that she was a crafty old so and so but reluctantly admired her cheek. When I drove back onto the taxi rank my suspicions were confirmed when one of the other drivers asked, with a smile on his face “Did she pay”? I rolled my eyes and didn’t answer, I just said “The crafty old bugger”. Apparently, she would make an appearance every few weeks and wait to dupe a driver who didn’t know her!!

If you have read the previous post, you will recall that I mentioned the ‘Brad Club’ the place where a person couldn’t fail to ‘Hook up’ if that’s what they were after! Well, I took a lone, middle aged woman there one night over the weekend, and when I dropped her off she asked me if she could book me for 2am. Of course I said yes, as long as I wasn’t busy. Anyway, I pulled up outside the doors about the time she asked for, and a couple of minutes later she came staggering out, saw me and jumped in the car. The way she spoke had gone from quite articulate when I dropped her at the club too slurred gibberish when I returned to the club. The taxi ride was very short, about 2 miles or so, but during that short journey she kept hinting at sexual activity, trying to put her hand on my knee, which I brushed away whilst trying to steer the taxi in a straight line!

When we arrived at her destination she straightened up in her seat from a slouching position, pushed her chest out, looked at me in a way that I think was an attempt at seduction and asked if she could pay me with a blow job!!!

I replied with “I’d rather have the fare” and she slammed the money in my hand and slammed the car door behind her!

That was the only near sexual experience I went through in a year of driving the taxi. To be honest, I actually preferred old pissy pants in the taxi, at least I felt safe!

I’ll carry on my taxi experiences in the next post.

Taxiiiiiii

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.

Taxi Driver

Way back in 2004, the family suffered a setback, and a near devastating blow for the wife. Her father owned his own taxi, a single black and white cab that he had worked his socks off to buy, and worked even harder to make it work.

Just before new years eve, my father-in-law suffered a massive heart attack. Luckily he wasn’t driving when it happened. We rushed to hospital the moment we heard the news and stayed there for hours. He underwent open heart surgery the day before new years eve and we waited and waited and waited, staying in a day room, sleeping a little, pacing and drinking coffee. The good news reached us by way of the surgeon that he had come through the operation very well.

Relieved, we went home after we’d taken a look at him whilst he slept.

When the clock welcomed a new year in, me and my wife were asleep in the living room as the kids looked out of the window, watching the fireworks light up the sky.

Needless to say, my father-in-law wasn’t allowed to drive for a long time after the operation. That left him and his wife with a problem. She didn’t work, the only form of income they had was the taxi. At the time I was working full time, working shift patterns, days, afters and nights. I offered to drive the taxi after I had finished my daily shifts and to drive it every weekend. Dave, my father-in-law managed to procure a driver for the hours I was at my ‘Normal’ job and I took over the helm after work.

I was pretty fit and healthy back then, so I didn’t see any problems. I took the test taxi drivers have to take, passed it and started earning money to try and keep my family afloat.

I will write another post soon about my experiences as a taxi driver.

Lost Soul

Yesterday, I started work at 7am and finished at 8pm. Long day! However, this post isn’t about working long hours, it’s about the encounter I had whilst I stood at the bus stop at 6.30am. Standing there, wrapped up against the morning chill, I noticed the silhouette of a man walking towards me, but on the opposite side of the road. He was staggering, I guessed very inebriated. He spotted me and began crossing the road, obviously making his way towards me.

Half way across the road he flung his arms wide and shouted in a slurred voice “Nobody loves you, but you “! When he finally reached me, he placed his arm around my shoulder and repeated his message, “Nobody cares about you brother, so you have to care about yourself and look after number one”! Smelling the alcohol on his breath, I quickly assessed him and agreed with him as I smiled. He then quite comically said “Who’s number one”? I replied, with all the gusto of a Baptist preacher “I am”, trying my best not to allow humour to reveal itself across my face.

He went on to ask about my wellbeing several times before moving on in his one man crusade to liberate all who would listen.

I watched him as he stumbled away, meandering into the road and swerving back onto the footpath. I noticed a man standing alone in the near distance wearing high vis, and knew he was about to be accosted in the same way. I was right. The high vis man was greeted with the same arm around the shoulder and probably the same words of wisdom. A couple of minutes later, the drunken man moved on and the high vis man started walking in my direction. He reached me quickly and said “What a waste of space, he should get a f$#%ing job”!

I nodded as my bus came into view.

On the bus journey to work I replayed what the drunken man had said, and thought that maybe, through his alcohol fuelled words, he had spoken the truth.

Who knows.