Crazy cab drivers

new york cabMy friends from New York are filled with stories about crazy cab drivers. My experience has been mostly pretty boring though, some eccentrics but nothing I would call crazy. A few weeks ago that all changed.

After finishing up work, I needed to catch a cab from Queens into Manhattan. I hadn’t seen too many cabs driving around so was a little concerned about finding one. Luckily, a cab stand was around the corner. Carefully making my way across the snow I headed for the line. An SUV was at the front, followed by a number of cars. Since I was focused more on where I was placing my feet than what was in front of me, I was almost to the front of the line when I noticed the older couple getting into the line ahead of me. I figured they would go to the first cab, the SUV, so I headed for the second cab. (Pictured: View of the city from my cab.)

I had put my bag in the car and was halfway in when the older lady said, “Excuse me! We were first.” As I looked around I realized the SUV had driven away, and the cab I was currently entering was in front. I reached in to grab my bag and started to get out, but the cab driver rolled down the window, pointed to me, and yelled out, “You! I’ll take you!” I said, “These other people are first.” He said, “I don’t care–I want to take you, not them.”

It was incredibly awkward–the other couple was clearly there first, but he wasn’t going to take them. Since I was already half in the car, I went ahead and got in. I felt super guilty the whole ride home, and I’m pretty sure it ruined my cab karma. Up until then I had found cabs within just a couple of minutes of trying, but afterward it took twenty or so minutes each time.

My sister had never heard of this happening before, but said that there are more fights over cabs than one would think. But why would the driver act that way? It’s not like there were so many people waiting for cabs that a driver could be picky about the customers he takes. Are they even allowed to pick? Ugh.

Readers, have you ever heard of something like this? Do you take cabs often when you travel?


  1. I’ve never had this happen, but I have a simple answer as to why it did. You had luggage. If the couple didn’t, they were probably a local ride, shorter distance and, hence, less profitable than an airport trip.

  2. Agree with Miriam. You “looked” like a longer trip. Probably not completely kosher, but I’m not sure.

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