Monday, April 19, 2010

Taxi Drivers Wanted, No English Necessary

If you were to randomly pick 100 cabs in NYC, I would say 90 of those cabbies are foreign born and English is their second language. The other 10 percent is also foreign born but doesn't speak a single fucking word of English. How do these non-English speaking guys get licenses? They don't. They're hacks. They pay licensed drivers for the use of their cabs when they're not on shift.

A few years ago, I got into a cab with friends and asked the driver to take us to a bar downtown. After a few minutes in the cab it was clear the guy didn't speak a single word of English. He started driving towards the East Village, which was the totally wrong direction, so I ask him, "Sir, where are you going?" He mumbles the only phrase I think he knew how to say in English, "Where you go?" I tell him again where we are heading and he turns the cab around and at least starts heading back in the direction we should be going. But, then he makes a few turns and again we're not heading the right way. So, fed up, I ask the guy where he's going? But this time, there's no response and the cabbie is just driving and I have no idea where we are going. I start to yell at him to pull over and let us out but he keeps driving. So I start to scream "Pull over the cab now!" At this point, I'm kind of freaking out. I'm dreaming that we're involved in an elaborate kidnapping plot by Al Qaeda. When the cab comes to a stop at a red light I yell "Everyone out of the cab now! Now!" We bail out and I think I yelled something like "Fucking learn English!" aat the driver. Fully expecting the guy to curse us all out for bailing and not paying, I was shocked that the guy just drove away. It was definitely one of the weirdest and scariest cab rides I've ever had.