I drove the graveyard shift in the cab last night, 6pm to 6am, and it was the busiest night I've ever seen, all 10 cabs were on the road and at one stage there were 57 jobs waiting!!!! 57!!!
Unbelievable. Why so busy? Partly because Xavier Rudd was playing in concert at Old Broadwater Farm. Partly because it was Friday night. Partly because we had an inordinate number of jobs to Dunsborough and Bunbury which took people away from town for long periods, thus creating a backlog. It was flat out from go to woe. Even after 5am, when you can sometimes close your eyes and take a nap in the car (while parked!) it was constant. I'd rashly told the remaining couple of drivers they could park up about 5, then the rush started again, made all the more urgent by the call out centre in Bunbury closing for the night and the calls starting to come through to me in the car via the two-way!
Not content with the busiest night of the year, confirmed by my highest takings of 2008, and possibly ever, I then had to contend with my cab, 163, breaking down just as we hit peak hour, in Dunsborough!! 15km away!! It stalled and absolutely refused to restart. I've got no idea why.
I had no choice but to lock it up and scab a lift back to Busso with Gavin. In the process I lost the best part of an hour of peak earning time, making the final outcome all the more remarkable.
I then took the wheel of 170 because the driver was crook and needed to go home. The pace never abated. The money kept rolling in. The customers were 90% good, but 10% managed to push my buttons in some way. One who had fiddle-farted around for ages before getting in started to complain that the meter had climbed to $10 before we left his driveway. I pulled up and explained that I'd already been driving for 10 hours, on top of a full day at work, and invited him to get out and walk if he wasn't prepared to pay the fair fare. He pulled his head in and we resumed the journey. At another pick up, a party on a bush property inhabited by drunken dancing rebel-raisers, some kids started throwing rocks at the taxi! For a brief moment I saw red and planted my foot down, speeding over toward them and making it abundantly clear what I would do to the next kid I discovered throwing rocks at the cab. They stopped so I guess the message got through. It may have been my powerful personality, or it may have been the colurful adjectives I uttered that did the trick, I don't know, and I don't much care.
I was relieved when Jack finally came on the air just before 6 enabling me to park up after a Hard Day's Night.