Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Crabby Cabbie

Living on the south side of Chicago is a daily test of your patience and will.

My fellow Chicagoans often give those of us who live south of Madison Street the back of their hand when it comes to common courtesy and respect.

Not being a native Chicagoan, I was often bewildered at the whole south side north side animosity/rivalry thing.

Let’s suffice it to say that after living on the south side for five years I totally get it---the mystery is gone.

One of the daily injustices that south siders face is the taxicab situation.

On the one hand you have to be organized and time conscious to get to where you’re going via public transportation. Knowing that you either have to catch a bus or a train for work or for play makes you budget your time efficiently.

On the other hand, it sucks when you have to attend a formal event and wait over an hours for a cab---if you’re lucky.

We have a little law here in Chicago that states that the cab companies must have dedicated “neighborhood cabs” that service every neighborhood in the city.

That’s a nice way of saying, “Service the south side, you bootleg motherfuckers.”

But what the law (or ordinance) says and what actually happens are two different things.

I fully know that if I call one of the big cab companies that I won’t ever see a cab. They can put the call out all they want but if no one responds, what can the dispatcher do?

Or so I’ve been told.

So in order to save my sanity, I don’t rely upon the large cab companies to come and get me but if I’m on the north side---I do rely upon them to ferry me home.

95% of the time I have no problem. But that 5% can be a problem.

So began my (early) Saturday morning.

I hailed and got into a cab at approximately 12:30 AM on Saturday morning (12/30) only to be told by the driver that he was “off duty” after I gave him my destination address.

I was in no mood to put up with some cab driver’s bullshit
He told me that since he was “off duty” that I should get out and find another cab.

Ding, ding---game on.

I was pissed.

Pissed with a capital “P.”

I stated that I hailed him, he picked me up and wasn’t off duty until I revealed my destination address. I further added that I wasn’t going to take another cab.

“You need to take another cab.”

“Are you refusing to take me to my destination?”

It went on like this for a few minutes.

The cabbie (Mr. Mohanadinoner, if I copied his name down correctly) then stated that he was going to call the police if I didn’t get out of the cab.

I told him I’d beat him to the punch and already had 911 dialed on my cell phone.

The cops arrived a few minutes later.

Unfortunately they were of little assistance.

The officers essentially refused to enforce the City of Chicago rules that state the following:

When you hail a cab, drivers cannot refuse service unless the "Not for Hire" sign is displayed
Cabs licensed within the City of Chicago may take you anywhere in the city or to the suburbs

After a boatload of hard looks and my explanation of the situation, one of the officers strongly suggested that I copy down the cab driver’s information and take another cab.

From the looks he was giving me, I knew this was a fight I wasn’t going to win. I took the necessary information and got out of the cab.

Thanks a lot Officer Friendly.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the officer’s badge number so I could file a complaint against his handling of the situation. But let me share something with you ladies and gentlemen, if you start some shit with the Chicago Police Department, you better be ready for a very unfriendly and extremely personal fight.

I don’t suggest it unless it’s a circumstance in the most extreme.

And even then you better have multiple copies of corroborating evidence and credible eyewitnesses backing your story.

It wouldn’t hurt to be the spouse or immediate family member of an officer just as an extra level of protection.

This is Chicago, if you start a fight be better damn well be able to finish it.

Even if I had his badge number, I’m not gonna start a pissing match over some bootleg cab driver.

I did on the other hand fill out the city’s online complaint form lodging an official complaint against the driver and my treatment.

I will not be treated “less than” because you perceive my worth or the worth of my neighborhood to not be up to your standards.

Fuck you.

I don’t care he thought the neighborhood was unsafe or that my fare would take him too far away from other potential fares in a mainstream entertainment district.

Hell, I don’t care if he doesn’t like black people.

That wasn’t his call.

When his service light was on and I got into his cab, all of that hoo-ha flew out the window.

Let’s see if I can acquaint the cabbie with the power of one.

I’ll keep the blog updated as developments occur.

1 comment:

Nat said...

please do keep us posted. Although i have not been turned out of a cab, getting home took some doing once they heard the address.

I grew up on the North Side, and i am constantly amazed by how the South Side gets the shaft ever since i moved down here 15 years ago.