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Stealing The Cab Right Out From Under You

Several years ago my boyfriend and I had planned a really nice day for ourselves in Washington D.C. Since we were college students in Baltimore and didn’t have a car at the time, we bought train tickets and planned to catch a cab to the train station, about 15 minutes away.

That morning we walked to a busy intersection near our apartment building that always had plenty of cabs passing through to catch a ride to the train station, expecting to wait only a few minutes at the most. Unfortunately, for some reason there was an unusual cab shortage that morning and we waited more than fifteen minutes without as much as seeing one. When we finally sighted one we frantically hailed it and it pulled up right in front of us. Out of nowhere, a woman pushes in front of us and throws herself into the cab. This is not at all the norm for the area, where in general people are polite and do not do this sort of thing. We were taken aback and might have let it go, but we were running late that that point. My boyfriend put his arm into the cab door and politely asked the woman to let us have the cab since it had obviously stopped for us and we were trying to catch a train. Her response? “Too bad you weren’t fast enough,” with a condescending sneer.

The driver was obviously not interested in getting involved, so we got into the cab with her since there was plenty of room (it had two rows of seats), we had no idea when another one would come along and calling one was likely to take another 15 minutes. The woman tried her best to get us to get out by acting nasty, but we politely but firmly stood our ground. It turns out that the place she so desperately needed to go, to the point that she needed to steal our cab, was a vegan cafe just north of campus that was only a five-to-ten minute walk down the street. She was wearing the cafe t-shirt and was obviously waitstaff, and most likely late for her shift. But with the morning traffic the drive probably took as long as the walk would have!

During the (short) ride there she muttered insults under her breath, glared at us and continued to sigh loudly. When we reached the cafe she threw a few dollars at us and snarled, “You’re welcome!” before slamming the door – as if she had done us a big favor in “allowing” us to share the cab she had stolen! Because the cab ride took us in the opposite direction of the train station and the whole ordeal had taken quite some time, we did end up missing our train. Luckily we were about to catch another one an hour later and ended up having a splendid (albeit somewhat shortened) day out.

To this day I refuse to eat at that particular cafe, which is notorious for having mediocre vegan food and rude, slow service. Go figure! 1122-10

This is a first for the site.  A story about someone stealing a hailed taxi cab from another.  Come on all you big city denizens!  I’m sure there are more stories to tell.

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • QueenofAllThings October 20, 2011, 6:46 am

    I lived in NYC for 18 years, and never had anyone steal a cab from me. Instead, we practiced ‘smart’ hailing – if you saw someone hailing a cab, you simply walked half a block up, towards the traffic, so the cab would see you first. It’s a very competitive sport, especially when the theatre lets out.

    I am happy to see an increase in taxi stands outside of transportation hubs and the like – so much more civilized!

  • jen a. October 20, 2011, 6:56 am

    I think this story illustrates perfectly how polite behaviour can overcome rude people. Good for you, OP. You and your boyfriend stood your ground, and probably made her feel pretty uncomfortable. I’d like to think (although I’m sure some people will contradict me) that she started to feel a little ridiculous when you didn’t respond to her rudeness. Well done!

  • Green123 October 20, 2011, 7:27 am

    Unless it is a life-and-death situation, no-one is more or less entitled to a cab that anyone else (the OP is not more entitled to a cab because he’s going to be late for a train than the other woman, who may have been late for her shift at work, and vice versa). So who gets the first cab depends entirely on who was there first, whether in a queue situation or a hail and ride situation. In this instance, the OP was there first, so he should have got the cab. What a pity the driver didn’t feel he could intervene.

  • Laurita October 20, 2011, 7:32 am

    As a country girl, I’m somewhat intimidated when it comes to catching a cab. I think I would have just backed away. Kudos to the people in this post for firmly, but politely, standing their ground.

    On another note, I have seen employees in uniform acting rude and obnoxious on more than one occasion. When you’re wearing that uniform, you are representing your place of employment, whether you realize it or not. As evidenced above, your behaviour may negatively impact the reputation of your employer.

  • Baku-chan October 20, 2011, 8:59 am

    Am I the only one who immediately thought of John Candy and Steve Martin?

  • Lucy October 20, 2011, 9:02 am

    Apart from the etiquette no-no of stealing a cab and being rude, it’s a professional etiquette no-no to be a jerk while wearing your employer’s T-shirt (driving a marked company car, etc.).

  • LiLi October 20, 2011, 9:24 am

    Oh indeed there are! Back when I was in college in New York City my roomies and I very excitedly went thrift store shopping for our little apartment. We found 2 awesome little end tables that just needed a little sanding and staining to be super cute.

    Of being NYC, we didn’t have a car, public transportation all the way. It was also the middle of July, blisteringly hot, and the nearest subway stop was a healthy 5 blocks up and 2 blocks over. The end tables weren’t super big or heavy but even for 2 young, healthy, independent women such as ourselves they were a bit much to handle for the heat and the walk. We tried to hail a cab for a bit, but it was late in the day and getting a cab during rush hour is difficult. However, just as we were reaching the end of the 1st block going crosstown, I saw the most welcome site: An empty, mini-van style taxi cab turning the opposite corner. Air conditioning, a ride, AND plenty of room for the tables! I jumped up and down like a jack in the box to hail him. The driver saw us and pulled to the side a few yards down.

    Just as we were waddling down with our tables in tow, two young men appear out of nowhere and yank to door open to hop in. I shout at them “Really!?” As the second one gets in he flips me the bird and says “Too slow b***h!!” Of course the driver just wants a fare so he drives away with them. We were unable to find another empty cab before getting to the subway. We did, however, get an excellent workout.

    Being cutthroat for cabs is pretty standard in NY, but few people will jump a cab when they have clearly pulled over for someone else, especially when its clear that the person really needs it, as we did. Those guys deserve their own little corner in eHell.

  • anonymous October 20, 2011, 10:06 am

    As a big city denizen, I’m going to say that actually, this is pretty rare. Sure, it happens but it happens about as often as, say, an attendant being rude to you in a rural farmer’s market. Most urban jungle dwellers know and follow a set of unspoken rules regarding how to behave when you have to share a limited space with a few hundred thousand or even million people. Most of us would not hear this story and say “oh yeah, happens all the time” – they’d say “WOW. Just…wow. Who DOES that?”

    Even the “walk up the street a bit and catch a cab before it gets to that guy” is fairly rare, at least in the cities where I’ve lived and visited frequently.

  • Wink-n-Smile October 20, 2011, 10:14 am

    They should have reported the vegan restaurant staff-worker to the owner of the restaurant, along with their pledge to never eat there again, and a bill for the extra train tickets they had to buy, due to missing the train.

    Also, if they were close enough to talk to the driver, they could have said they’d report him, if he took the other passenger, instead of them, as it was obvious that they hailed him first.

    Of course, if they had the money, they could have simply bought the fare with the promise of a fatter tip.

  • Miss Marie October 20, 2011, 10:32 am

    Where I live, you don’t hail a cab. There is one taxi stand near the bus terminal where 6 or 7 cabs are parked most of the time for travelers getting off Greyhound Buses and the rest of us just call. You phone up the company, tell them where you are, they send a cab, end of story. No pushing, shoving, swearing, name calling or awful and completely awkward rides with strangers!

  • WildIrishRose October 20, 2011, 11:08 am

    Personally, unless it’s any distance and I can’t take a bus, I’d rather walk than take a cab. Cab drivers scare the bejeebers out of me.

  • Politrix October 20, 2011, 11:09 am

    “I lived in NYC for 18 years, and never had anyone steal a cab from me. Instead, we practiced ‘smart’ hailing – if you saw someone hailing a cab, you simply walked half a block up, towards the traffic, so the cab would see you first.”
    With all due respect, it’s actually pretty rude to do that — if you see someone hailing a cab, the polite thing to do is to wait half a block DOWN, so you’re not “jumping the line” as it were… that way the person who was hailing first, gets the cab first, and the next one to arrive will get the next available cab.
    I applaud the OP and boyfriend for standing their ground, I’ve done the same in similar situations.
    However, there’s one story I have that may make people think twice about who and who is not “entitled” to a cab, and give some insight into some of the cab drivers themselves (albeit not all):
    My boyfriend and I went to hail a cab one night, about half a block behind two Black men who were also trying to get a cab. (In other words, they clearly had the right to take the first cab that stopped). A cab pulled over, drove right past the two men and stopped for us, and my boyfriend went to open the door. I saw the outraged look on the two men’s faces and felled pretty embarrassed myself… luckily I was able to think quickly and as my boyfriend went to get in I pulled him back and said loudly, “No, honey, the cab stopped for them”– and I hurriedly motioned for the guys to come get the cab — “See, there’s another one coming, they had this one first.” As the two guys got in, thanking us I said, “Sorry, we didn’t see you at first” and quickly went to hail the next cab. I hope those two men saw the situation as a mere oversight on the cab driver’s and our part, and not as a blatant display of racism on the cab driver’s part, but I’m not so sure. At any rate, if you’re in NYC and you’re hailing a cab, make sure ther’s nobody clearly in front of you… if there is, they get the cab first!

  • Jay October 20, 2011, 11:12 am

    She was a jerk, but I don’t think you’re going to win any manners awards for getting in the cab with her.

    Also, hailing a cab driving in the opposite direction you want to travel isn’t a great strategy, but..

  • Clair Seulement October 20, 2011, 11:30 am

    Unbelievable–not only the cab stealing, but the fact that, despite this being a large cab, and despite her being taken to her destination off first, she continued to sit there and berate you. I guess your presence made her really uncomfortable–good for you, I think you behaved impeccably in this situation.

  • SaraB! October 20, 2011, 12:08 pm

    I won’t say the name for courtesy’s sake, but I’m from Baltimore and, OP, I think I know just the place you are talking about, and this does not shock me one bit.

  • --Lia October 20, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I’m not willing to let the drivers off the hook so easily. They’re the ones in charge. I can understand why they’d let the fares fight it out, but I don’t believe it’s polite to do so. The polite thing would be for the driver to make a decision. You might not like it, but at least you’re not arguing with a stranger.

  • Javin October 20, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Man… People like this need to have some etiquette physically beaten into them…

  • X October 20, 2011, 1:38 pm

    I have a more pleasant cab stealing story to relate. I was out to see a movie with quite a few friends of mine. We’d taken the hour bus trip out — the only movie theatre was quite a ways out — but our movie ended after the last bus left. We called two cabs and asked them to meet us at a store a 5 min walk from the theatre (still in view of it) since it was always so busy there.

    Now, it’s midnight. It’s Canada in the winter. It is COLD. So we were thrilled to see two cabs come along. One came right up to us, the other stopped at the theatre. After a minute’s debate, we agreed we shouldnt all stay cold and half my friends got in. We asked the driver to make sure our decide cab was coming.

    A minute later, the other can stops in front of us. As the driver rolls down his widow, I can hear the two people in the back seat protesting. He asks what my name is, and I give it to him since the company requests names when people call their cabs out that far to make sure the right person is picked up. He then made the other two get out of his cab. They swore and protested and pleaded, but he made it clear he wasn’t driving anywhere until they did. Turns out he’d asked if they were [my name] when he reached the theatre and they lied to grab our cab. When cab A radioed in to confirm our second car he’d heard it on the dispatch and realized his error.

    Of course, I’ve called cabs (different company) to the same location, had no one show for an hour, called back, were told someone was on his way, waited another half hour, and called back to be told the driver wasn’t coming because the return fare wasn’t worth the drive out. :/ That I still don’t get — it’s surely the job of a cab company /to send cabs/. Never used them again.

  • X October 20, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Pardon the typos above — on my phone. I should add that that movie theatre was not a place that cabs just came by given it’s location. It was always busy with cars, but unless you caught one that had just dropped someone off (which wouldn’t be the case after the last show), you had to call your own. So those girls definitely knew they were taking someone else’s car and apparently didn’t care.

  • Wink-n-Smile October 20, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Politrix, I love you.

  • David October 20, 2011, 3:22 pm

    I am not sure exactly where this particular cab highjack falls in the spectrum, but I am happy to get to finally share this story:

    Usually I rode my bicycle to work but one morning I woke up late and realized I did not have time to do that or the bus but would have to call a cab. The cab showed up and I hopped in and we headed out. About 7/8th of the way to my job two women flagged the cab and my cab driver pulled over to let them in. He refused to stop the meter while they sat and talked for 10 minutes or sole and then he asked me if I minded him taking them to their destination first. Their destination was completely on the other side of the town I lived in at the time, and it would have made me incredibly late.

    I said; ” You will take me to work as you were hired to do.” He gave me some attitude, but finally dropped me off. I did not tip him as there was extra time I was being charged on the meter. Unfortunately I was late to work.

    Also unfortunately they were the only cab company in town. I did make a complaint and bought a back-up alarm, but I know he kept his job as the next time I needed a taxi, they sent him out even though I specifically asked that they not do so.

  • AS October 20, 2011, 3:44 pm

    OP, that is awful, and I applaud you and your boyfriend for holding your ground.

    I have a nice cab story to share. We were once trying to get a cab and in extreme hurry because we had a friend visiting us who had to get the last train out of town and a cruise boat we went on came back late (we were visiting the town too, but stayed overnight in a hotel). A lady was kind enough to let us have the cab when we explained the situation to her (we had hailed at the same time). The cab driver was wonderful, and knew exactly the right place to drop him off so that he can run to the train. Friend made it to the train just as the doors were closing! We tipped the cab driver nicely and were ever grateful to the nice lady who let us have the cab.

    @ Jay: “hailing a cab driving in the opposite direction you want to travel isn’t a great strategy, but..”
    The OP specifically said “…it pulled up right in front of us”. I don’t know where you got the part about hailing from opposite side. And I don’t see what is wrong in getting into the same cab.

    @X : I wonder why those two girls didn’t call cabs on their own. Maybe they didn’t have cell phones, but then, you don’t come to a late night show without planning how they are going to get back home. In my experience, cab drivers might call other cabs from the same company if they see that someone needs a cab, but have no way of contacting one. A polite request might have worked (after all, most employees wouldn’t mind getting more customers for their company).

  • YWalkalone October 20, 2011, 5:10 pm

    I have a slightly OT story to share, but I think it will earn a few chuckles.

    I used to live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and my mother still lives there. My fiance (then boyfriend) and I went to visit a couple of years ago. We live in California and, side note, he has lived in CA his whole life, hadn’t been to the East Coast until this trip, and had previously never taken a cab.

    So one night we make plans to go into the city proper for a date. He takes me to my favorite restaurant, which is a really romantic place, and at the end of the meal proposes. After the meal, we hail a cab to take us to our hotel. We are still really high with excitement and giddiness. The cab driver, who was really nice, starts making small talk in his thick Philly accent.
    “Where are youse guys from? Youse don’t sound like you’re from Philly.”
    “We’re from CA.”
    “So what brings youse guys out here?”
    “We’re visiting family. Actually, we just got engaged about 20 minutes ago!”
    “Why’d youse guys choose a s***hole like Philadelphia to get engaged in?”

    That conversation just put the icing on the cake of our night. We still laugh about it!

  • C.W. October 20, 2011, 6:05 pm

    I would think it would be inappropriate to bring the girl’s manager into the situation. She may have been wearing the company shirt but she was not on the clock at the time and he/she cannot be accountable for an employee’s actions while she’s not at work. And it would be ridiculous to bring him/her a bill for the extra train tickets. It’s in no way the company’s fault they missed their train.

  • Asharah October 20, 2011, 7:38 pm

    I would say if an employee is doing things while wearing the company uniform that would alienate people from doing business with the company, her superiors should be informed.

  • SS October 20, 2011, 7:55 pm

    @QueenOfAllThings: I have lived in Chicago many years and it is considered an *extreme* rudeness to do as you describe and hijack a cab by going up a half block when you see someone waiting for a cab. You are supposed to wait near them, let them get the first one, then you hail the next one.

    Someone in my condo building did that to me recently. I had been waiting 20 minutes for a cab in the rain. She walked out, looked at me, walked about 20 feet up the street and grabbed the cab that had just turned and had been heading for me. Ever since then, I do not exert any extra courtesy for her that I nornally do for others in my building …. I do not hold the elevator, I do not hold doors, I do not converse with her for any reason. She burned her bridges doing that and is only worthy of shunning because of her deliberate rudeness.

  • Echo October 20, 2011, 8:03 pm

    I don’t have a cab story, but I just wanted to comment on how wonderfully the OP and her boyfriend dealt with the situation.

  • Amanda H. October 20, 2011, 8:11 pm

    Adding to what C.W. said, depending on the train company, they may not have had to pay for extra tickets, either. I know at the train station here (two rail lines serving the Northeast), train tickets are good for any fare that day, much like a subway ticket, rather than for a specific time like airline tickets. Just going off of the OP’s story, it sounds like while they missed their train, they just had to wait for the next train (probably an hour later) rather than pay for a new set of tickets.

  • Kry October 20, 2011, 9:00 pm

    When on vacation with my kids (then aged 3 & 7) after a long day at a theme park we found out that the bus we were going to catch was in a snap strike and we needed a taxi to get back to our motel. After waitin over 1 hour a taxi pulled up and it was our turn when a man, dressed to go out for the night, jumped infrount of us and got in snapping at the driver to “Go, hurry”. Another man opened the door and politly told the first man to get out, it wasnt his taxi. The driver backed up the good samaratan and said he want going to take him anywhere! After a few minutes the man got out and the kids and I were invited by the driver to get in. There was spontanious applause for the two who stood up for fair play that day.

  • K October 21, 2011, 12:01 am


    I’m guessing you are not from a large city. From my visits and conversations with friends, sharing a cab between two fares is not unusual at all, and the OPs did nothing rude.

  • Jade October 21, 2011, 12:27 am

    I catch the occasional cab, and of course have a story to share.

    We were catching a cab, there were three of us, two heading in one direction and me heading completely the opposite way so we needed two cabs. We had hailed one and were just getting in when a guy who had been sitting at the bus stop approached us and aggressively said that he had been waiting for a cab for fifteen minutes so we were stealing his taxi. Even though he had been sitting there quietly and not moving to hail cabs we didn’t want the argument so we let him take the first cab and went to find another. He slid into the front seat, wound down the window and said ‘F*%$ you very much B*%$&!’ as the cab pulled away. Charming.

    The other story is that I used to work as a receptionist for a company and part of my job was ordering taxis for clients. I would call the company, give the pickup details and destination and they would send the first available cab. On this day the client was heading straight for the airport, so time was of the essence. When no cab had arrived in fifteen minutes I called the company and they were very apologetic and told me a driver had been assigned and was on his way. Ten minutes later, still no cab and I called again. Again very apologetic, the cab was a matter of minutes away.

    Ten minutes later the client was becoming agitated and I called the company for a third time. The operator who answered my call was most puzzled as her computer showed that the cab dispatched for us had picked up the passenger and was on the way to the airport. I replied that the driver most definitely had not picked up our client as he was presently sitting in reception. She asked if I was sure and I replied ‘yes, I’m looking right at him.’

    I rang another cab company and the driver was at the building in less than five minutes. Over half an hour after the client had left and more than an hour after the cab was ordered, a man wearing the original company cab logo walked into reception and asked where the fare to the airport was. When he was told the client had left he was most aggrieved and wanted to know who was going to pay for his trip out here to pick up a fare that didn’t exist. I told him to take it up with his cab company after he explained to them why he lied about picking up the fare and rocked up an hour late for the job.

    Never saw him again.

  • The Elf October 21, 2011, 8:07 am

    The only times I’ve hailed a cab was when my usual public transit has failed. I’m not crazy about cabs – too expensive! If there’s another option, I’ll take it. Usually I’m in a crowd of displaced Metro or commuter rail commuters, and so we quickly divide ourselves by destination and share cabs. It’s friendly and it all works out. If someone had tried to “steal” the cab for just themselves, they would have had a big fight on their hands!

  • Kalinka October 21, 2011, 8:25 am

    Where I come from there are taxi ranks where people queue for the next available cab. I was waiting with my then-BF. It was a Friday night just after closing time and naturally queues were long. We were next in line and just getting into our cab when another man insisted that he was first in line. Well, queues and alcohol don’t mix, and he and BF started exchanging words and it looked like it was going to get physical. Meanwhile I could see that the cab driver was not amused and on the point of telling us all to hop it.

    I said to the other guy “Hey, we’ve all had our night out. Let’s not spoil that. No need to fight about this. Where are you going?” It turned out he was going the same way as us. I told him and the BF to get into the taxi and I sat between them. We dropped the other guy off first. He was very apologetic about the whole incident and gave me money to cover his and our fares, and wouldn’t take any back.

    BF got a little talking to when we got home about behaving boorishly. But overall I’d say it turned out well.

  • Xtina October 21, 2011, 8:32 am

    Bravo for you and your boyfriend not letting her get off with the cab! I bet she was unpleasantly surprised when you two jumped right in with her. Certainly that will make her think twice before she goes cab-stealing again.

    What a rude woman.

  • Jay October 21, 2011, 9:25 am

    “Because the cab ride took us in the opposite direction of the train station…”

    @AS (& K): The two fares were in opposite directions, according to the story. So either the OP or the rude person must’ve been hailing a cab traveling in the opposite direction from where they wanted to go.

    I’d tend to assume that the cab driver, faced with two fares in opposite directions, would start with the one in the direction he was already heading, but that’s just a guess. (I’d also assume that someone late for work a few blocks from the starting point would be walking that way while trying to get a cab, but again a guess)

  • Jojo October 21, 2011, 9:27 am

    I went to a large music event in an unfamiliar city that I had to leave very quickly after in order to catch my train home. On my way to the gig I asked my cab driver if I should book a taxi for when I got out of the show. He said there would be plenty of taxis as it was a large show in an isolated part of town.
    As the act ends, I rush out ahead of the crowd to get a taxi. No such luck. Not one single taxi. As there was no designated stopping point all sorts of people were forming isolated queues. So eventually we assemble into one, rather annoyed group. I call the taxi company and book a taxi and ask them to send more as there was a large crowd waiting for taxis. Bearing in mind that this is a town where everyone has an attitude problem, 15 minutes later a taxi pulls up and a lady jumps the queue with her perfectly healthy son screaming that he’s having an asthma attack and must get in the taxi. I have asthma. That WAS NOT an asthma attack by any stretch of the imagination. I and another group take issue with this but fortunately the woman and asthma boy make a hasty exit in their chariot before mob rule took over. 10 more minutes. One more taxi. It isn’t the one I ordered and the two people out of 5 in front of me get in. Another call to the only cab company in the city I have a number for – no reply. We’re not a happy crowd considering the city centre is 10 minutes drive away – the major issues to get there being that you have to cross a large motorway and that it’s very dark and not somewhere you’d walk alone on the way home. I’m increasingly annoyed that I could have walked to my destination by now, regardless of the safety issues involved.
    Another 10 minutes and one more taxi. The group of ladies in front offer to share their cab with me as we’re going in the same direction. Not only that but they paid the driver extra to cover my share of the fare to make sure I got to the place where I was going safely. It wasn’t much money but to this day I still really appreciate their help and kindness.

  • A October 21, 2011, 10:25 am

    I live in the suburbs where the only reason a person will see a cab is because someone called for one or is taking one home from downtown. However, it’s far enough away that cab drivers have complained about the distance of my trip. “By the time I get back downtown, all the riders will be gone,” they’ve said. Well, I’m not driving home drunk and it’s simply not possible for me to walk 20miles home but I do understand a person’s need to make a living. I’ve tried making it up to a couple drivers by getting them food on the way and always giving them a tip. :S

  • Enna October 21, 2011, 11:06 am

    Wow some people are rude.

    When I was at uni once I did something a bit bad. I had been out with firends and we had gone back to their place and I was going to get a taxi back to my house. My firends’ house is an extended vicotrian builiding and the front downstairs room is a bedroom (where another firend was sleeping) not the living room which is at the back of the house. Unfortunatly I didn’t hear the taxi arrive and I didn’t get any ring-back on my mobile (which I had used to book the taxi). My other firend had just come back from working a late shift and said she had seen a taxi leave the road.

    I called the taxi company up and the man who I had arranged the taxi with said the driver had waited 5 mintues and no one had come out. There was an awkard silence and I was embrassed, he hung when I was mid sentace with an apology. Now yes, I can see why he was annoyed at me, but as he had taken the call he knew that I was a female and traveling alone. I had always been a good reliable customer to the company it wasn’t like I constantly stood up the taxi drivers. Also I did not get call back so I didn’t know the taxi was there.

    I had given the address of where to pick me up and the taxi driver could have knocked on the door – the houses on street where my firends live do not have front gardens so it would be three steps away from the car at the most. If he had knocked on the door he wouldn’t have missed out on a fare or wasted his time: I would have happily givem him a bigger tip if he had told me he had been waiting. Two of my firends walked me back home.

    It hasn’t stopped me from using the same taxi company whilst I was at uni: I just made sure I got callback so that way I know when the taxi driver has arrived – so have learnt my lesson: by asking for callback I’m also covering myself incase there is a lazy taxi driver who can’t be bothered to use it.

  • Wink-n-Smile October 21, 2011, 12:46 pm

    Jay – regarding fares in opposite directions:

    If you’re on street A, which crosses street B, and one fare is north on B, while the other is south on B, both fares will be heading the same direction when they first get the cab.

  • Tracy October 21, 2011, 1:02 pm

    “@AS (& K): The two fares were in opposite directions, according to the story. So either the OP or the rude person must’ve been hailing a cab traveling in the opposite direction from where they wanted to go.”

    Not if it had to turn a corner. Maybe they caught a northbound taxi that would need to turn either east or west at the end of the block.

  • Rifish October 21, 2011, 1:11 pm

    The world is not linear. It could easily have been a matter of a left turn to the restaurant; right turn to the train station. The taxi doesn’t just go straight, it goes where you need it to, and in this case it should have gone first to the destination of the people who hailed it.

  • aliciaspinnet October 21, 2011, 6:49 pm

    A few years back me and my younger sister went out for Halloween. At the end of the night we needed to get a taxi home, so we went to the nearest taxi rank. Unfortunately at this time of night the queue was ridiculously long. We waited for over an hour in the freezing cold, and while we did have some fun chatting with other people waiting (some of the costumes were pretty good), by the end we were freezing cold and a bit fed up. By the time we got to the front of the queue it was really late and taxis were only arriving every 10-15 minutes or so. As our taxi pulled up, I saw a couple walk up to the queue and eye up our taxi. The girl darted for the taxi, but I got to the door first and held it while my sister got in behind me. I told them that we had been waiting and this was our taxi, and the guy kicked the taxi door into me! I think I shouted that he was a coward for attacking a woman like this (I was in my early twenties at the time, and quite a bit smaller than him), then jumped in the taxi quickly and we drove off (Yes I’m aware of the irony of calling him a coward and running away). I ended up with a bruised arm but was just glad to have gotten the taxi and gotten home.

    When I think back on that night the thing I find funniest is that I was dressed up like a geisha at the time, with full white face paint. Me shouting at the guy must have been quite a sight.

  • Jamesy October 21, 2011, 7:38 pm


    I don’t know where your friends are from or what they told you, but this girl from NYC knows that sharing cabs is not the norm.

    Re: Smart Hailing – If there is someone on the corner hailing a cab, I either wait it out or move over a block or an avenue. I think this is Standard Operating Procedure for most people I know.

  • boxy October 21, 2011, 9:23 pm

    I was living in a high tourist area a few years back. A family of four was standing on a street corner trying unsuccessfully to hail a cab by waiting until it passed then “nodding” at the cab. They were becoming frustrated so I asked them if they wanted some help. They said yes so I stuck out my hand in the manner locals did to hail a cab. Within 10 seconds cab pulled up, I smiled at the family and cheerfully said, “have a great visit to our city” and started to walk off. As the now very grateful family started to get into the cab the driver shouted at them, “get out! This is that lady’s cab!”


    I went back and explained to the cabbie that I was just helping out the family but I’m not sure he believed me.

  • Margaret October 22, 2011, 2:19 am

    I grew up in a rural area, so my experience with cabs is pretty limited.

    One time my family (me, husband, two children aged 1 and 3) were flying across the country. We were going to leave our vehicle at a relatives home and take a taxi to the airport. I called the company in the morning and made the arrangements. Later in the day we drove to the city. My relatives were not home at the time. We unloaded the vehicle, which included luggage, car seats, diaper bag, stroller and went in the house to wait. And wait. Ten or fifteen minutes after the cab was supposed to have picked us up, I called the company. I was told that the driver had been there and no one was home. Well, no, I said, we arranged the cab for a set time, and we were already waiting by then. Well, didn’t they tell us that they couldn’t guarantee pick up times and the cab could have been earlier. No, they had not told us that, and I had specifically said that we were driving THREE HOURS into the city. Fine, they would send another cab, as it was only ten km away. Another ten minutes, phoned again. Yep, it will be there right away. Another ten minutes. Yep, it’s close by. I phoned about 5 times and wasted almost an hour. We finally decided to load everything back up (SO DELIGHTFUL reinstalling car seats) and drive ourselves to the airport. I’m sure we would have missed our flight had we waited for the company to actually show up. I was mad about them randomly changing the pick up time (don’t use cabs, didn’t know that happened), but at least they could have been honest and said that there was no way we were going to get a cab in time for our flight instead of leaving us hanging for an hour.

    Second story — I was on the other side of the country and catching a flight home for Christmas. I had taken my plane tickets out of the folder to confirm the flight, and then I forgot to put them back in. When I got to the airport, I had the folder but no tickets! I ran out of the terminal, and asked the cab by the building if they could take me home. The driver said that he wasn’t supposed to pick up passengers at the drop off, but agreed. I explained about the tickets and how it was a huge rush so I wouldn’t miss my flight. So on the way back to my apartment, he told me that he had to get gas, which he did, meter running. I never took cabs, so what did I know? I was too busy freaking out that I was going to miss my flight! However, I got the tickets and got him to stop at an ATM so I could get cash to pay him. Got back to the airport and handed him some twenties and took off (made my flight!). Looking back, it was pretty rude of him to make me pay for his time to fuel up his vehicle, but as it turned out, I would have given him the exact same amount of money either way, so basically, the time he charged me for fueling it was that much less for his tip.

    My in-laws number is similar to the number for the local cab company. They get fairly regular calls in teh middle of the night for cabs. Apparently he will tell someone the first time they call that they have the wrong number, but after that, every time they call back he will just say, “Yep, I’m on my way.”

  • Allison October 23, 2011, 7:37 pm

    I have a great cab story about someone trying to steal my cab. Where I live in Australia, unless you are in the city centre, you wont ever get the chance to hail a cab, and when there is an event in the city, managing to hail a cab is downright impossible.
    So my boyfriend and I were on the train home after a day at a music festival, 5 or so mins before we arrived at our stop I called to book a taxi so that one would be there not long after we got to the station.
    We get there and there are about 6 individual groups of people hoping a taxi will pull in as they sometimes do at train stations. So we are waiting, 1 or 2 taxis pull in and i know they arent mine because the dirver isnt asking for my names. My boyfriend and I were essentially at the end of the line, when a group of people get off the next train and proceed to go to the top of line, effectively cutting in big time. I see a cab pull up and I am pretty sure its mine. I see obnoxious man from the group trying to get in, but the driver wont let him in. I grab my boyfriends hand and head down to the taxi, when i get there obnoxious man is leaning in the passenger window, saying “come on man, i am a cop, we are only going to the end of the (insert suburb name)” and the driver is just shaking his head, so i stick my head in the window next to this so-called cop and say “cab for Allison?”, and it was my cab 🙂 So we hopped on in. The “cop” was seriously annoyed, but I didnt care, it was my cab, and if he really was a cop, he is abusing his powerand thats not cool at all.
    That was nearly 3 years ago and my boyfriend still talks about how awesome I was.
    I dont often get in peoples way as I am quite easygoing and laidback, but one thing I dont stand for is people taking what is rightfully mine, and bullies. Oh and you gotta love cab drivers in my city, they may be hard to get sometimes, but if you book one, they generally always wait for you and not the first person to get to the car, which i really appreciate.

  • Stellar October 24, 2011, 9:10 pm

    I just had a completely opposite experience to this. I was visiting a friend in Cambridge (England) and not very used to catching cabs, even at the designated taxi-areas. I was queuing patiently and two cabs stopped to take the people in front of me so that the cars formed a neat line. A third cab drove to a stop beside them, and as the first two cars pulled away the third cab stayed there while I floundered, trying to figure out if he was waiting for me or if he’d stopped because of traffic. As he wasn’t stopped by the curb I couldn’t be sure he’d stopped to take customers.

    An older man saw the cab and approached it, and I don’t think he realised I was in the line, or either figured I wasn’t about to take it, due to my endless dithering. The cab driver, however, waved him away and gestured for me to to get in. Once I’d given him the address, he proceeded to (in a very friendly manner) educate me on how to nab cabs quickly before ruthless people steal them from you. I was very touched by his concern 😀

  • Michael October 25, 2011, 1:26 am

    I have a really wonderful cab story to tell.
    This past summer my friend and I were going to see the midnight premiere of the final Harry Potter movie. We knew that by the time the movie ended we would have missed the last train to either of our domiciles. We’re both under 20 (although not by much), but she lives far away from the theater and due to some unlikely circumstances, I was renting my own apartment, much closer to the theater. We both had summer jobs, but neither one of us could afford a cab on our own, and a cab to her house would have put a considerable strain on both our budgets. So it was decided that she would stay overnight on my couch. The theater was in the center of the city, so we didn’t have much worry about finding a cab. But we saw he most wonderful interactions. People were graciously holding doors, giving up or sharing cabs. The experience we had all just gone through had united all of the theater goers into a large group of fans. It was absolutely wonderful and restored my faith in humanity. We ended up sharing a cab with a couple dressed as Ron and Hermione who lived a few blocks from me. I rarely ride in cabs, but I must say it was the most pleasant ride I have ever had or am ever likely to have.

  • Enna October 25, 2011, 7:29 am

    @ A a 20 mile trip would be quite a fare for a taxi driver.

    Some of my other firends live up a step hill. If you are walking down hill to the train staion it would be a bout 20minutes or so. My train was delayed to the city they lived by an hour and I got a taxi as 1) I was tired 2) my blood sugars were being funny 3) my asthma was playing up 4) I had a heavy cold. The taxi driver was a bit umimpressed as it was near to the station, but he was happy to give me a lift – I did say I wasn’t in the best of health – he had been waiting for customers on the delayed train too. I gave him a generous tip and he did say “maybe I can till catch someone else as it wasn’t that far.”

    There was one taxi dirver though who was very bad temperedto my firend twice. One time he pulled over to chat to a firend saying sarcastically “I’m going to Bob Street but I’m glad I got a fare”. The next time she stood up for herself saying that 1) she had just travelled from the African continent to UK so she was tired and she had a heavy suitcase. One time me and her were turened away when we told the first taxi driver where we were going as it was near. The one we did go to was really ranting about it saying how the country was going to be a 3rd world country and this other taxi driver would not have any firends. Personally I think karama can catch up with people – the driver who turned us done could have got a passanger who didn’t have enough money or was sick in his cab.

  • Politrix October 25, 2011, 10:35 am

    Thank you! 😉
    I should clarify, though, that at the time my boyfriend had no idea what was going on… he is a very kind, generous individual and would NEVER take a cab that wasn’t “his”!

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