Monday, August 19, 2013

Doorman and the Taxi Driver You Should Know About

I have a rocky history with taxi drivers. I've screamed at them, been dragged down a block, thrown gum in their car, and fought tooth and nail to get them to take my fucking guests where they need to go. Hell, I'm leaving for work in a couple of hours, and as the Monday afternoon rush looms, I know that I have at least one confrontation in store for me. These altercations, or "hockey fights", as I've called them before, are par for the course. And while I've spent a good amount of time vilifying these hard-working people on this blog, I have to share a humbling story about taxi medallion # 6E14:

I was a Sunday night. Sunday nights are quiet, save for the morning rush of people exiting and the trickle-in of the end-of-the-weekend arrivals. Working Sunday mornings as a doorman is excellent, because you cash in on all of the high-rate people leaving, though evenings are different story. Working the night shift means getting all of the bargain-hunting travelers who were able to get good rates for checking in on a Sunday. This means a lot of shlepping bags for free. It was one of those nights. I busted my ass all evening and had $43 in tips to show for it.

Salty, broke, and exhausted, I leaned up against the door at about 10:30pm, just waiting for this fucking nightmare to end. The clientele in my establishment is changing for the worse, and trying to squeeze tips from these fucking savages is a fool's endeavor. I'd spent the entire evening unloading car after car for this gaggle of pukes, whose only mode of communication with me was snapping their fingers and pointing at suitcases and ignoring my facetious "enjoy your stays!"

Then, out of the woodwork, a man approached me from our side-entrance. I immediately gave him an attitude, because I thought he was going to ask me to grab a luggage cart and unload some more cunty new-money travelers.

Doorman - "My man, you gotta pull around to the front entrance."

6E14 - "No, no! Excuse me, sir. I think one of your guests left this in my taxi."

He showed me a wallet and a passport. It was of a Japanese man, born in 1981. The taxi driver pulled out a green room key.

6E14 - "This is your room key, right?"

Okay, I got nothing else going on.

I took the wallet and ID from him and told him I'd be right back.

6E14 - "Thank you, sir!"

I went inside and called the operator, who patched me through to the room using the last name on the passport. No answer. Called one more time. No answer. I left a message, telling him that the doorman has his wallet and passport and that I will be leaving it with security.

When I returned to the taxi driver, I let him know that we would handle it from here. Before I could get a sentence out, he snatched it from my hands.

6E14 - "Please, sir. I cannot leave it with you. I need to either give it to the guest or turn it over to the police."

Oh, of course! He wants to collect a reward!

Doorman - "Ah! Okay, I get it. You want to be taken care of!"

I winked at him. The smile vanished from his face. I had offended him.

6E14 - "No, please. It is procedure. I do not give a fuck about that. Trust me."

Doorman - "Alright buddy, calm down. I'll tell you what - I left a message with the guest. Leave me your cell number and I'll call you when he comes back."

He left me his number, took the wallet, and returned to work. No more than five minutes later, Security came down from the elevator. I let him know what had happened, and it turned out that he had just filled out a report with the guest in his office.

I called the room, and the man from Japan barely spoke a word of english. As I explained the situation, I was greeted with a blizzard of "ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok" before he hung up. I called the taxi driver right away, who was only a couple of blocks away.

The guest, born in 1981 but dressed like a fucking Staten Island teenager, frantically came down.

Japanese Man - "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

I pointed outside, where the cabbie was waiting in the front. He ran outside like the lobby was on fire.

This was between the two of them, but out of boredom, I snuck outside to see how the interaction went down. Would the Japanese man have the sense to give the guy a reward? Would the cabbie squeeze him if he didn't? Would the Japanese man check the wallet, find that something was missing, and accuse the cabbie of stealing?

Fuck man, this is the Lonely Road to Midnight. I never see this much potential for drama.

I crept out the door, where I watched the exchange completely out of sight.

Taxi Driver # 6E14 sat in his car and handed the Japanese man his wallet and passport. Japanese Man rummaged through it, made sure everything was there, and pulled a crispy twenty out to give to the taxi driver.

Without seeing me, without knowing anyone else was around to see the exchange, he refused the twenty.

6E14 - "No, no, sir! It's okay! That passport saved you! Just be more careful."

Japanese Man insisted. So did the taxi driver.

6E14 - "No, please, sir! You keep it! You are on vacation!"

The Japanese man bowed and thanked him profusely.

6E14 - "Good night, sir!"

And he drove off.

I truly felt like a fucking asshole.

With all of the ranting and raving that I do about the scumbags (and there are a lot, believe me), it's important to me that I tell you about one of the good ones. 6E14 stopped what he was doing, stopped making money in a 12-14 hour shift where every fare and every minute counts, to return a wallet to this man. Then refused a reward.

There's an option on my "Report A Taxi" iPhone app that allows me to "praise an angel." A little dramatic, yes, but I did just that:





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