Sunday 10 January 2010

Threats Insults Sob Story and Tears

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...

me "£8.40"

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!"

punter "What?"

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"

officer "Driver?"

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.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Teen Wolf

I was driving a six seater at the time of this bizarre hire. I picked up 5 males and 1 female, all around 18 or 19yo, from Royal Exchange Square. The were heading out Hamilton Road to just short of the old Calderpark Zoo.
It was an incident free journey and none of the passengers were any trouble. I did sense however, that they may not have been drunk, but flying high on something else.
We arrived at the destination (they were all getting out together) and was paid without any problems. I seem to recall getting a decent tip into the bargain. Job done. Happy days.
As I began to turn around to head back towards the city one of the group stepped up onto my front bumper, climbed up the bonnet and lay spread eagle on the windscreen. My guess was that he was looking to get some sort of reaction from me, so I nonchalantly continued my maneuver, very slowly, until I was facing back towards Glagsow. I stopped to allow him to get off, now that the joke was over. (Ha ha, very funny, good one)
Not only did he not get off, but one of his friends now climbs onto the back of the cab and somehow pulls himself up onto the roof. My first reaction was to separate myself from the rest of their group to prevent any more of them joining in. I drove slowly down the road for 100 yards or so and again stopped to allow them to get off.
10 seconds pass and they are not for budging and in my mirrors I can see the rest of them start to head down the road in my direction.


My visibility impaired by my former passengers groin, I moved up through the gears cautiously. I had reached about 40 or 45 mph and I wasn't certain that the guy on the roof was still up there. Surfing like Teen Wolf or clinging to the begging light with white knuckles I wonder. He wasn't moving about any more that's for sure.
The road was deserted but I hoped to eventually come across a police car or at least another taxi to assist with my predicament.
I was now face to face with the guy on the windscreen (he didn't look too happy) and it was apparent that he was slowly but surely slipping further and further down the bonnet. Before long I could only see the top of his head and his hands gripping the windscreen wipers like his life depended on it. His life did depend on it and if he was to have lost his grip I didn't really want to be responsible for killing the guy. I slowed to a stop as smoothly as possible and when we came to a halt the other guy jumps from the roof onto the bonnet (leaving a substantial dent) and down off the cab. As I pulled away they both made pretty decent efforts to punch through the side windows but thankfully without success.
I was a bit annoyed at their reaction, after all, I had probably just saved at least one of their lives.

The zoo may have been closed for a number of years now, but quite clearly the animals are still living in the area.

I hope you enjoyed the walk home boys. Next time it will be an Emergency Stop and I will quite happily watch you bounce down the road.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Where Do You Think Your Going?

This is just a quick little story that popped into my head when I was blogging about punters doing a runner the other day.

I picked up this young guy about 20 years old from the city centre one night. He looked as if he had had a few but not so much that I would declare him unfit to travel. He asked me to take him to Shawlands although he couldn't specify exactly where. I agreed, but decided to keep a close eye on him for any signs of becoming ill.
We were just short of Shawlands on Pollokshaws Road when he piped up from the back...


I thought 'shit, here we go. But at least he has had the decency to ask me to stop so he can get out and spew his ring. Which is more than most Pukers can manage'.

(you wouldn't believe it but I have even had a girl who was standing outside the taxi, open the door and puke inside, so that the doormen of the club she intended to go to, accross the road, didn't see her being sick. WTF!!!!!!!!)

To my surprise however, he gets out the cab, but instead of doubling over and emptying the contents of his stomach onto the pavement, he turns and starts to march very purposefully off down the street in the opposite direction of our destination. I watch in my mirror in amazement as he charges off.
I swing the taxi round 180 degrees and quickly catch him up. As i kerb crawl down the wrong side of the road next to him I wind down my window and...

"Where do you think your going pal??????"

He doesn't break stride or even turn his head. He completely ignores me and just keeps marching down the street as if I don't exist.

me "Whats your fucking game???????"

punter "I don't know what your talking about"

He continues without even a glance in my direction.

me "Look pal, I don't know what you think your up to but there is £5.60 on this meter and I want my fucking money"

punter "Its nothing to do with me"

me "That's it ya wee prick I'm getting the fucking bat out"

I hit the breaks, as does he, and he comes straight to the window saying

punter "OK...OK...How much is it?"

me "£5.60"

He goes into his pocket, pulls out a ten pound note and hands it to me. I start to eject coins from my coin holder in the smallest denominations possible with a view to pissing the wee bastard off as much as I can, when I have a brainwave. I stop with only about 70p in 5 and 10 pence's in my hand and pass them through the window to the guy. I look up and finding the road ahead clear I push down on the accelerator and laugh a hearty goodbye to the chancer.
He even had the nerve to give chase shouting "OI. COME BACK. COME BACK"

I still laugh out loud when I think about the expression on his face as I drove off with my healthy tip.

I'm actually a very honest person and contrary to what some people like to think, I'm not out in the taxi ripping people off all night. On this occasion I just couldn't help serving this guy up a doze of his own medicine.

LOL. My bad.

Christmas Day Airport Run

Working with the general public can be very hard work at the best of times. In this job it can be particularly difficult as a large percentage of the time you are dealing with the public at their worst. They are heading home full of drink or drugs, or both, tired at the end of their night or prematurely after a disappointment, argument or fight.
However, it is not always necessary for your customer to be drunk or pissed off to act like an idiot, as this Christmas Day story from around 8 years ago will demonstrate.

I was working as a private hire driver for an East Renfrewshire company back then and we had this regular hire from Muirend to Glasgow Airport. This guy worked at the airport and used our firm to get to work 4 mornings a week. His fare was £12.00 every morning. He had tried every conceivable route over the months he had had this job and the first time you happened to pick him up he would specify exactly the route he wanted you to take and that's the way you went every time. £12.00 no more, no less.
I got this job one Christmas morning, 4.15am as usual and he got in the car noticeably more chirpy than normal. After all the "merry Christmas mate" and all that, I enquired......

"Are you not a bit pissed-off having to work today?"

punter "Not at all. I'm getting triple time and a day in lieu. Its brilliant"

me "Oh, good for you mate. That's great"

punter "Yeah, can you believe it. I probably wont be that busy either. Triple time and a day in lieu. I'm making a fortune"

By the time we reached the airport some 25 mins later I was sorry that I had asked the question. He never stop going on about how much money he was making for working on Christmas day and I had hardly got a word in the whole way there.
Anyway I pull up outside the main terminal and....

me "That will be £18.00 please mate!"

punter "Aye, that will be right. Its £12.00"

me "Its fare and a half Christmas Day and Boxing Day I'm afraid. So its £18.00.
punter "You've got to be joking. That's bloody ridiculous"

The guy went off on a rant about the extra charge being a disgrace but reluctantly he paid me. He got out the car vowing to make a complaint to the office and SLAMMED the door.

What a TWAT..........

When The Punters Run

There is probably not a taxi driver in the land that hasn't been caught out by a runner on more than one occasion, but the more experienced you get the less likely you are to fall victim to these scumbags.
One of the first rules of being a Glasgow taxi driver is "Never get out the cab". The bandit screen that protects the driver from the punters is there for a reason. Some members of the general public are dangerous and if the punters do a runner without paying, whatever the fare is, its not worth getting stabbed for. That's the theory............

This happened a number of years ago when I was still very inexperienced.

Between 2 and 3am one Saturday morning I picked up two males in their early twenties from one of the city centre taxi ranks and took them to Simshill on the south side of the city They seemed like decent young guys and were quite talkative with me, as is all too often the case. When we arrived at the street they had requested, the price on the meter read about £9.00.....

punter "just about half way down driver"

me "ok"

I continue for a couple of hundred yards....

punter "just here!"

I stop as requested and just as I notice that we have stopped at the bottom of a dark lane with a very long steep set of stairs, the door flys open and the two wankers are off and running up the stairs like fucking gazelles.
There has been several times in my life when I have been extremely fit, other times, moderately fit. At this time I was neither.
By the time I switch off the engine, jump out the cab, lock the door and get to the bottom of the stairs they have disappeared into the darkness. I ran up the stairs (maybe 100 yards) in a blind rage and by the time i reach the top I'm struggling for breathe. There is no sign of them anywhere, so its a 50 /50 gamble left or right. Left is downhill so off I run fueled only by adrenaline.
After approx another 100 yards I can make out two figures under a street light. It must be them, theres nobody else around, its 3am. As I get closer I see that they are just standing talking and oblivious to my charge. Maybe its not them, why aren't they running? Shit, what do i do now? There is two of them, at least 10 years my junior and I am completely exhausted. I'm probably going to get a good kicking here or at least look like a complete prat when I apologise for chasing them and return to my cab with my tail between my legs.
Fortunately when I get to within about 15 feet, one of them looks round and gets the fright of his life. I think I had fallen so far behind that they thought they were home and dry and they didn't expect to see the angry 6 foot taxi driver baring down on them.
They were off and running once more and luckily for me one of the robbing bastards was very fast. Much faster than me and much faster than his tubby mate. The athletic one disappeared into the night in no time which left me on the heels of fat boy. The pace of the pursuit had slowed to barely a jog now and I was exhausted. I was within 6 feet of him but I was finished. With the last of my energy I summoned up the loudest angriest voice I could muster and shouted


We cant carry weapons in the taxi but I do have a very large Maglite torch which is about 16 inches long and very heavy.

To my surprise the guy stops saying

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'll give you the money."

He was every bit as tired as me and now that his buddy had ran off and left him he was ready to cough up.

I swear to god that I was about to collapse and had he ran just another 10 or 15 strides he was gone forever.

He opened his wallet and I removed the £10 note, waved my "club" angrily and returned knackered to my cab.

I was inexperienced and reckless and gave chase without thinking. This story had a happy ending but sadly for some drivers it doesnt and they end up being assaulted or worse. Its just not worth taking the chance for the sake of a couple of pounds.

My First Post

Although still relatively young, my memory is not the best. The purpose of this blog, first and foremost, is to help me remember the interesting, funny or unusual experiences I had, and continue to have as a Glasgow Taxi Driver.
I don't pretend to be much of a writer, and to be honest, I don't read very much either, so please forgive my poor grammar and spelling.
I have eight years of incidents to blog about, so it may take me a while to bring things up to date.
It would be interesting to know if anybody reads this blog and I welcome any comments.