Let's Hear It For Our Professionals! -Fred Stock
Let's face it. Our industry often gets a bum rap because of a few. And who can
blame the critics when you know there is a small percentage of drivers and operators
out there who are playing a few spots short of a Yahtzee. If you dig far enough. you
can probably find a couple of drivers who are criminals in spite of the police checks. I
guess there are a few drug dealers driving cars of taxicab yellow. You may be able to locate
a guy here or there who isn't proud of what he does for his daily bread, and looks and
smells that way too! But you know, most cab drivers are really decent people... clean,
intelligent, hard working to a fault, family men and ladies, good folks who you'd prefer
to have for next door neighbors (maybe over the ones you have now! Yikes!!)
I read a piece in a paper in a city I was visiting many years ago - I think it was in
Seattle when I was stationed at Bremmerton. This cab driver had waited at a hotel
most of his shift for rides that did not come. He could easily have been mad at the
world, and ripe to take it out on his next fare or the driver in front of him on the
highway. But not him. If I had known then I would get into the industry myself, I'd
have kept his name and address so I could go back and check on his later days. But
alas, didn't happen.
|Anyway, this driver - we'll randomly name him Juan - was getting ready to close up the frustrating day when he witnessed a hit and run accident right in front of the hotel. As he started out of the cab stand, this pick-up truck came roaring around the corner,squealing tires, skidding directly toward the curb where an old lady was stepping off the curb with her little two-wheel basket full of groceries. The cart went flying and the woman went down. The driver of the truck looked back, cussed, and sped off.|
This was before cell phones, so no 911 call was made... probably before 911, come to
think of it. The cabbie saw immediately that several people including a nurse in uniform
were right there to help the woman, so he took off after the pick-up truck. Juan grabbed
the microphone of his company radio and demanded the dispatcher get the police on the
telephone, and proceeded to send an ambulance to the hotel and direct the cops to the
fleeing bad-guy. The passengers in the company's other cabs got an earful as they listened
to the unfolding drama, and several called the police and the cab company to urge that
the cab driver be commended for facilitating the arrest of the DUI H&R pick-up driver.
The newspaper picked up the story and was there when the police awarded Juan a
commendation. One for the good guys!
You know, many people in this industry raise housefuls of kids on the money they earn,
often not near what they are worth. Some send money home to Mexico or elsewhere every
payday to support their families with whom they cannot even live! Some of the lucky ones
can save enough to start their own businesses, and all of those folks have at least one thing
in common; they all understand customer service and personal pride. They keep the rigs
clean and tidy, dress respectfully, treat their fellow man and woman with the same kindness
they would appreciate if the roles were reversed.
The taxi industry may indeed be the last bastion of employment for folks who cannot get a
position in their chosen fields. They may be un-tenured teachers or displaced aerospace scientists
or hungry chefs. They may have had a physical challenge which precludes them from their skilled
endeavors. I know of one cabby who was an entry level pro ball player, but following a car
accident could no longer play the game. He kept his hack immaculate and his clients felt like
they had just been knighted when he drove them. He made a respectable living at the height
of the recession while others of lesser attitude were weeping. In pro ball it may all be in the
wrist, but in our field, it's mostly in the head. Mind set is everything.
This article and probably hundreds of others if we keep digging, are in respect for and in awe of
our transportation professionals. They are not "just a cab driver, nothing special" as I heard one
lad lament. They are folks who have chosen this profession, or perhaps it has chosen them. One
way or the other, they treat their job as a position, their fares as respected clients, their
equipment like it were their store front. It is, after all. They are professionals, and we proudly
salute them. We are privileged to serve you at Fred Stock Electronics, www.TaxicabElectronics.com.