A tip for a cranky taxi driver

If you hate your job, should you keep doing it?

Lori Welbourne, On a Brighter Note


If you hate your job, should you keep doing it?


In the case of the cab driver we had picking us up last weekend, we’re thinking a big change is needed for that guy.


Unable to walk back to our hotel in high heels in the middle of the night last weekend, my friend and I called for a cab. As soon as we were told the driver had arrived I rushed out and jumped in, said hi to him and asked him how he was doing. “Where to?” was his stern response.


“The Best Western” I said, wishing it wasn’t so close and seeing by his angry face that he wished the same thing.


“We have one more person coming,” I told him, referring to my friend who was getting her coat.


And that’s when the profanities started. Apparently he had just crossed the bridge and came across town for a fare that would obviously not be worth his time. He insisted on leaving immediately.


Worried he’d bolt, I left my door open and asked him to just hold on half a minute and I’d call my friend on her BlackBerry and ask her to rush. But on the second ring she was already jumping in the car and he was speeding up the road.


“Whoa, buddy, what are you doing?” Tami asked him with surprise. “There’s no reason to drive like that.”


The profanities continued and he said we could report him if we wanted.


“I will report you,” my friend said. “There’s no reason to drive us like this just because you’re having a bad night.”


“Go ahead, do it,” he challenged us.


More foul language followed and minutes later he screeched up to the hotel and we jumped out. I told him I used to be a cabbie so I knew how hard it was, but that I couldn’t imagine treating anyone so poorly.  Speeding away after collecting his $6.50 he presumably high-tailed it back downtown to charm more unsuspecting passengers.


I was reminded in that moment of the old adage, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” I looked at the $20 bill I had intended on giving him and wondered why he hadn’t learned that rule himself.


Working as a Vancouver cabbie back in the late ’80s there were many times I had to go long distances or wait in long line ups just to pick up a fare that wasn’t worth my time. And there were a couple of really slow times when I didn’t even make enough money to pay for the cab that I had leased for the day. But I certainly wouldn’t have taken my frustrations out aggressively on a customer like he did with us.


My dad used to say if you hate something, change it; and if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. I think it’s time for that cabbie to change his job … or change the way he thinks about it – for his sake and the sake of his future passengers.


Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. You can contact her at loriwelbourne.com