Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Taxi Driver’s story

An only in Las Vegas story. On the way back to the timeshare after the Wynn buffet we got an ace cab driver. Sometimes cab drivers are the most boring creatures in the world, reiterating anything that’ll get them a tip. Some tell good stories. This was a new guy – 11 days on the job – with a great story. He’d lived in Los Angeles in the past, but he’d gone back to China for a couple of years. By the time he’d got back to LA, the economy had tanked and he couldn’t find a job. He was destitute. He was living with a friend of his who took him to Lancaster (hey, Dead Weather reference – the home of Captain Beefheart) who then drove him to Vegas without telling him which way he was going.

So, he’s unexpectedly in Vegas. He hadn’t brought any clothes. He has to borrow a suit – and underwear- from his friend, who has lined up interviews. My cabdriver aced the interviews and landed a job. In the meanwhile his friend was fronting him rent and basic Las Vegas gambling/drinking money.

So cabbie got a job – although the orientation traumatized him, being all about the terrible things that can happen to a cab driver which include rape, murder and a 90% higher chance of dying on the job than other occupations – and has been plying his trade ever since. Smartly, he bought a GPS for his cab. On his first day, he said, someone asked him for the Hard Rock and he had no clue. He drove around a bit and the passenger eventually said he’d pay him what was on the clock for the ride since it was the first day, but no tip. Hence, GPS, paid for personally, not by the firm.

He told us great tales. He has the 2am to 2pm shift, so he gets the real drunks. He told us of a cab full of women who were too weak to pull the unconscious member of their party out of the cab (cabbies are prohibited from touching passengers, so he couldn’t help). Of well-aimed vomit (i.e. outside of the cab). Of passengers who couldn’t remember what hotel they where staying in (like he’d know). Of drunks who hollered out of the cab, but never bothered the driver. Of one passenger who, on being informed Mr. Cabbie was new and had no idea how to get to the named destination, said, “It’s okay, I need a sightseeing tour. Drive all you like.”

I liked him. And I liked hearing about his amazing friend. We should all be so lucky to get such committed friends as that.

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