I picked up from Gordon Street outside Central Station. It was a female around 30 and as she got in she momentarily broke off from her telephone conversation to instruct me to take her to Curtis Ave in Kings Park.
Approximately 10 minutes later I turn off Aikenhead Road into Curtis and she is still on the phone. About 4 or 500 yards along the ave she says...
"Where the FUCK are you going?"
me "Eh...Curtis Ave"
punter "My house is way back there"
Ok. I'm not a bloody mind reader and I think it is perfectly reasonable for me to assume that at some stage the passenger will say something like "its number 124" or "3rd lamppost on the left" or "stop anywhere here please". That is how it generally works after all.
Anyway she then says down the phone...
"Hold on Gill, this ARSEHOLE is taking the piss"
Now, when I first started in the trade, I used to try and negotiate and reason with people whenever a dispute arose. You soon come to realise, however, that this type of client, fuelled with alcohol, is not interested in ANYTHING an ARSEHOLE taxi driver has to say. No matter how reasonable it may seem to a sober, sane individual.
So, I replied...
"Right, anymore of your shit and I'll put you out the taxi right here!"
punter "That's fine, put me out here. That's my Aunties pub over there"
I hit the breaks...
punter "No way..... £7.00 is all your getting. You drove way past my house"
Now, even if it had been my fault that we had driven further than necessary, the additional distance travelled was probably responsible for about 20pence of the final fare. 40pence at a push. So....
"Look, its £8.40 or I'll have to take you to the police station"
She is trying to get out the cab without paying me anything at this point and when she realises that she is locked in she says..
"Do you know who my brothers are? I'm going to have you 'done in'"
Ive heard it all before a hundred times.
me "I'm not wasting anymore time. £8.40. Are you paying me or not?"
punter "I'm giving you fuck all"
me "OK. Fine"
I start heading for Aikenhead Road Police Station, which is only a couple of minutes away.
punter "You're getting 'done in'. I'm telling you"
At the corner of Curtis and Aikenhead Rd there is two police officers searching a junkie, so I pull in and wait to speak to them. My passenger decides to change tact. The threats stop but now she is insulting and demeaning me...
punter "You're just a scummy little taxi driver. You're pathetic. I'm a professional person. A legal assistant"
I was growing tired of her now. You can only let the abuse continue in one direction for so long, so I fired back....
"You don't look like a professional. Your dressed like a fucking tramp"
It was dark and if the truth be told I had no idea how she was dressed but the remark had the desired effect. She was furious and started shouting more abuse. I turned off the intercom and turned up the music.
After a couple of minutes one of the cops comes over to my window. I switched off the music and explained that my passenger was refusing to pay. He said that they had their hands full and could I just take her over to the station. Which is what I did.
When you have to take a customer to the police, you radio through to the base and they phone through to the desired station. You then park outside and wait for officers to come and assist you.
As we waited she changed yet again and pipes up....
"You know I'm just trying to get home to my 11 year old daughter who is very upset as she has just started menstruating"
There is now nearly £11.00 on the meter.
me "Its simple. Just pay me and you can go home."
She reaches through and drops a note and some coins into my coin dish. £7.00 to be exact.
me "That's not enough"
punter "What sort of a man are you? Just let me go home to my daughter"
I can't listen to anymore of her BS so I switch off the intercom again.
The police are obviously busy and after another 5 minutes go by, I decide I should just cut my losses and get back to work.
I unlock the doors.
"Right... do you just want to get out!"
me "Just get out"
punter "I'm not getting out here. Take me over to my house"
me "You're having a laugh aren't you. If you want to give me the £6 you owe me I'll take you the 400 yards to your door. If not, get out."
punter "I'm waiting for the police"
me "What about your daughter"
punter "Fuck you"
Fortunately, just then two officers came out the station door and down the stair to the cab. They open the rear door and front passenger door simultaneously and ask what the problem is.
She instantaneously bursts into tears...
"I want to press charges. This driver has been threatening and insulting me"
me "She was refusing to pay but I now have some of the money and just want her out of my taxi so I can get back to work"
officer "OK love, you heard the driver. OUT!"
As they are getting her out...
punter "I want him done"
me "Thanks officer"
officer "No problem"
Back to work I went just happy to see the back of her.
Thankfully, the police have seen and heard it all before too and are very sympathetic to our situation.
Lets face it, who's story would you believe, the sober hard working public servant or the ugly, aggressive, drunk, tramp.
You may have robbed me of £6.00 but lets just hope you spend it wisely. Perhaps a couple of new outfits.
Oh, and the tears at the end were classic...... and you said I was pathetic.