Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Taxi Driver Stories

I had an taxi adventure on the weekend!
I was out driving a busy Saturday night and doing pretty well too, the operator called me around to the depot to pick up a chap at around 3.15am, so I went round and there was this big black man waiting for his taxi, talking very seriously to the operator lady. He came out and hopped into my cab and asked to go to Leeway's backpackers, pick up his gear and take him somewhere else. Now there was something about him, a sort of desperation, he was all agitated and concerned, also quite drunk. Halfway to the backpackers he asked whether I could take him to another backpackers in town, but at that time of night, I knew nobody would be open for guests to arrive, then he asked if I could take him to my house if I had a spare room! He begged and pleaded in a nice way for me to help him as he said he was in trouble. Normally I wouldn't take much notice of this nonsense specially from a black as coal type Fijian man! (I am a racially biased person I know!) But something made me say, ok, it will cost you but I will take you home, and got on the RT and got the operator to phone poor Erle and tell him I was bringing home a house guest. The operator said he had asked her for a bed for the night too, but she has no spare room.
I charged him only $45 a night. Cheap as.
When I got to our place the poor man Jonathan we called him, though that is not his name we couldn't pronounce that, took one look at our garage and wanted to run as he thought that was where I was going to have him sleep! Now that says something about him and his culture I guess and the way Fijian workers are treated out here too.
As I walked inside Erle came out very wide eyed and open mouthed when he saw me strolling in with a huge black man close behind me! I had to return to work but Erle took care of Jonathan just fine.
In the morning we set out to find out what was wrong with him, why he was so worried and upset. Turns out he was being bullied badly at the backpackers, having bottles thrown at him and insults and maybe more stuff, and Jonathan was scared he would retaliate if he didn't get away from it all. Retaliation would have meant he was deported immediately as he is out here on a visa to prune the grapes and it was due to run out soon, he wants the visa to be renewed so he can continue to work and earn money.
Funny thing is I quickly forgot his colour, he was a very nice man better educated that either of us, the son of a Chief, a member of the council in his district in Fiji, married with a couple of kids and is a farming man that can build bures ( the native Fijian building that tourist resorts all use for the most expensive rooms) Erle just got on with him so well that he was invited to stay another night but at 9pm he decided he must go back or he would still be sent home as he must live where he is ordered - at that backpackers. Erle is going to meet him next weekend and take him to help prune Mums trees and maybe to stay over night too. Strange how things happen isn't it.
Oh I continued working till 5.30 am that night as it was so busy, so I slept away alot of the time Jonathan was here. He was very grateful for our help and offered to do any outside gardening type work, that sort of shows he is a nice guy I think.
I also had an unpleasant incendent in the taxi.
The nasty adventure....this was Friday night about midnight.
I had to call the Police to assist me with a very drunk young women who drunkenly dropped her steak and cheese pie on the brand new taxi seat, when I complained and tried to clear it up, the dirty little drunkard grabbed an handfull of the meat and very runny cheese and ground it into the other seat and smeared it all over me too! Yukky. Then she really did a bad thing, she clambered over the seats to the front of the taxi and stole my Taxi ID Photo Card, without which no Taxi driver can drive in NZ, jumped out and ran away up the long drive with it, I tried to give chase but slipped and fell into loose gravel and grazed my knee - the broken leg knee ofcause, and its still sore.
The Police came straight away two sqaud cars of them and told her off, (she now has a Police record) made her return my photo and said if it needed it she must pay to have the seat cleaned. But I didn't want to go off the road for the rest of the night so, I went back to the depot and cleaned the mess off myself, so well that in the morning you couldn't tell it had been so filty. But I did lose an hours work time.
So that is the third time I have called the Police in 12 years and second time its been a female. If she had lost that ID Photo I would not be able to drive til I had a new one processed which takes about a month. Taking the ID was a criminal offence.
These events are fairly rare, mainly it is all plain sailing taking happy customers to where they want to go and being paid to do so. They all get out of the taxi and say thank you, nine out of ten turn and wave good bye to me. I am freindly to them and they are freindly back - usually.