Wednesday, December 30

Numbers Game

A driver’s number or call sign can be very important to him; some drivers want their lucky number or a number that means something significant to them. This leads to drivers trading numbers and even in some cases swapping firms if they can’t get the number they want.  A while back one of our local drivers swapped from number sixty-one to number fourteen because he said "it was too many syllables in sixty-one for him to say on the radio."
 You will find that not many taxi firms have a driver thirteen; I guess you will think that we are a superstitious lot, but round here thirteen is reserved for a call for help. So if you hear your driver shouting thirteen and giving his location you know that you have really spooked him and that you will be surrounded by twenty bloodthirsty cabbies within minutes.

Friday, December 18

Black Eye Friday

Way up here in this part of the North of England, we tend to call the last Friday before Christmas “Black Eye Friday.”
 It's the day most people finish work for the Christmas holidays and they tend to finish work early about lunch time and they then head straight down to the pub for a long boozy session.
 I find it amusing when it gets to about four o'clock in the afternoon I then start to pick up some of the less hardened boozers when they have had enough and want to go home.  Lots of them are then telling me what a good night they have had; they are convinced that because it's dark that it must be very very late at night. I never tell them any different and just drive them home.
 Once a year drunks I call them the very worst kind of drinker because they just aren't used to it, give me a seasoned drinker anytime.  They take ages to come out of the pub shaking hands, hugging everyone in sight, and then going back into the pub several times for yet more long emotional farewells. Then once you get them into the taxi, the struggle is then to get them out of the taxi at the other end, because you are, their new very best friend in the whole wide world and they want to tell you their life story many times very very slowly and emotionally. Then its handshakes and if I’m very unlucky big bear hugs, but of, course none of my new found best friends ever recognise me ever again.
Still it's all good sport, Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Sunday, December 13

Holding The Baby

Some stuff will just never find its way onto these pages, some stuff which I see and hear would just be too hurtful to the folks involved. Other stuff can be told after the passage of time this is just one such story. This took place a good few years back now and maybe the people involved have hopefully changed for the better, who knows let's hope so. The job was to pick a fare up from a large house which was split into flats, it was a rough sort of place and I had to wait a while before someone finally appeared. Then two guys walk out carrying a girl between them who looked unconscious, they heaved her in the back of the car and told me the address she was going to. I went to set off but one of them almost as an afterthought shouted for me to wait and went back into the house. The two guys both of whom were drunk then staggered out with a baby held between them.The baby of no more than twelve or thirteen months old was thrust on the lap of the semi-conscious girl. The girl was that far gone she could not speak or even keep her eyes open and so when we got to the address I was given, I took the baby off her and knocked on the door fully expecting someone sober waiting there to look after the both of them. After knocking for a while with no response, the girl roused herself enough to stagger to the door, open it and fall in. She then tried to take the baby from me, but looking at the state of her I was not so sure that was such a good idea. I had a look around the house in case someone else was about but found nobody at all. I then tried knocking on the neighbour’s door to see if they could help, but they simply didn’t want to know. 
 Very reluctantly I put the baby down and left, I suppose I was guilty of not wanting to get involved. But of course, my mind wouldn’t settle, I kept thinking about what could happen, but then I kept reminding myself that the child would probably be taken into care if the authorities found out. I radioed into the office and had a talk to the lady operator she didn’t hesitate “phone the police you’ll never forgive yourself if anything happens to that child” she said. I drove around aimlessly for a bit longer but the more I struggled with it the more I realised that something just had to be done. The phone call was made and I never did find out what happened over it. I just sincerely hope I did the right thing, but who knows what's for the best. did I make the right call I wonder?

Wednesday, December 2

Prison Review

I always like to listen to people's regional accents and then try to guess exactly whereabouts they are from. Today I guessed correctly that my fare was from the Salford area straight after him saying where he was going to. He was that much impressed that I had said Salford and not the rival nearby Manchester that he strangely decided to give me the full low down on all the many prisons he had been in up and down the country.
 It was like an insider's guide with all the good and bad points of Her Majesty’s accommodation from all over the country. Apparently Armley jail in Leeds is best avoided" the screws don’t like you if you aren’t a tyke". But our local jail Haverigg "is just a holiday camp" compared to most. I just wish I had could have written it all down now, you never know when it may have come in useful eh!