Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Phoning It In

I had my day in court last week.

More specifically I had my administrative hearing for my taxicab complaint last Friday.

Despite the attempts of the driver to discredit my story. Justice (and truth) reined supreme and he was found liable of the charges.

But I’m putting the cart before the horse. Let me backtrack a little.

When you have an administrative hearing, you are given the option of either attending the actual hearing or phoning in and giving your testimony. Since we’re soon to be laid off, I thought it better to do this via the telephone than to burn precious vacation time.

I was sworn in by the hearing officer and was asked a series of questions by the attorney for the city which allowed me to tell my side of the story.

Once that was over, the driver was allowed to cross examine me.

If that’s what you want to call it.

He made a rather feeble attempt to discredit me by asking me if I said he picked me up on South Chicago Avenue.

I said no.

He replied, “You just said that I picked you up on South Chicago Avenue.”

I replied, “No---I said that I was standing on the south side of Chicago Avenue with the intent of the cab heading east and having a straight shot out to Lake Shore Drive.”

‘Cause anyone knows that Chicago Avenue which is on the north side and South Chicago Avenue which is on the south side are two completely different streets.

Nice try, homeboy.

He then tried to hammer away that I had a case of mistaken identity.

While I could identify the cab number, the driver asked me to describe who drove me that night and the color of the cab.

I could do neither.

The color of the cab is insignificant as a cab can be one color one month and completely different the next. The cab number on the other hand does not change.

Cab 606 is cab 606 no matter what color the vehicle may be.

Now for a couple of years I’ve been adamant about a few things when I get into a cab.

I either text a friend with the cab number that I’m in or call them with the information and that I’m on my way home. And I make sure that the person who’s driving me home is the same person in the picture of the cab license that’s displayed to the public.

On occasions, if a cab has several different drivers through the course of a day sometimes they may forget to switch out the licenses.

You always want to make sure everything is matchy matchy before you go too far.

So while I couldn’t describe the driver in detail, I could tell that he was a man of color with dark hair who spoke with an accent.

I couldn’t give a height as he was sitting down and it was seven months ago. Like I said, I just make sure the picture matches---I don’t have a photographic memory.

This seemed to satisfy the hearing officer who sustained the objection of the city’s attorney after the cab driver kept on repeatedly asking me if I could identify him.

Asked and answered butthead.

At that point, my testimony was complete. There was nothing more for me to do so I was excused by the hearing officer and hung up the phone.

An hour or so later the city’s attorney called me and said that the cab drive had been found liable of the charges.

As a result he has to pay a $225.00 fine, take a drug test and a physical as well as sign up for cab driver 101 at Harold Washington College.

Did I mention that the cab driver 101 course costs $275.00?

So the driver is spending $500.00, the cost of the drug test and physical. Additionally he will be losing money because he won’t be out making a living.

He’ll be learning, turning his head and coughing and pissing into a cup.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to take me home?

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