More Taxi driver Tales.
Another dangerous incident occurred while I was driving my taxi shift on Saturday night.
I had picked up a couple and was driving them to their home, about 11pm. As I drove up to the top of Howick Road, in to residential suburbia in a better than average area. There were a couple of cars parked on the side of the road opposite each other effectively narrowing the road considerably, I said to my two passengers ‘Oh Oh there are people all over the road’ then I noticed the people were spacing themselves evenly across the road; always a very bad sign, leaving me just two options either stop or drive into the people blocking the road, now ofcause that is not allow under any circumstances.
People sometimes do this, when they are desperate to stop a taxi late at night, it is always scary. So I said to the passengers ‘ this is quite dangerous I am going to have to slow up’ I pressed the central locking device to lock the doors and slackened off. When I drew near I saw the real danger, these men had fire on both sides of the road that they were playing with, they stepped out of my way leaving a clear path so I immediately gunned the engine and the taxi leapt forward, just as one the men threw the fire at the taxi, and it smashed noisily on the road where we had just been, with the sound of breaking glass! When we looked back the road was on fire where it had smashed. It had been a Molatov cocktail! Virtually a homemade bomb! A molatov cocktail is a bottle of petrol or other flammable liquid, with a rag sticking out of it that is lit just before it is thrown, in places like Ireland or Iraq, not in quiet peaceful New Zealand suburbia.
I immediately ordered the dispatch operator to call the Police; and she did. I know three squad cars were sent to deal the problem, but I was never interviewed so it couldn’t have been as bad as I thought it was. I was left quite shaky when I thought about just what could have happened if the flaming bottle had hit the car or worse gone threw the windows. I spent a few extra moments calming my passengers, one of whom was in tears, when I got them home, and also taking their names and address in case the Police needed them as witnesses.
As we were very busy at the time, as soon as I called clear I was given another job in the vicinity. I had only just picked these people up and was under way to their destination when the operator said the police would like to speak to me when I had finished this job; but the job was quite a long drive in the opposite direction so it took me a long while to get back to the site in Howick Road. While driving there I passed two police squad cars leaving the scene and the remaining one was still parked when I was pulling up beside it, but the Police must have received another urgent call for assistance at that moment, because they turned on the lights and siren and raced off.
You can be sure I didn’t hang around there on my own either, so I have no idea what the outcome of the incident was. Only that it frightened me somewhat.