Drunk and disorderly taxi passengers are one of the less attractive parts of my other job. Tonight a group of four surprisingly aged passengers gave me a hard time about the fare, the princely sum of $15.90, complaining that the outward journey had only cost $12 and thus that's all they were going to pay. I pointed out that in that instance they probably hadn't made me wait in the driveway for 10 minutes before deciding to all get in. As I am totally entitled to do, I started the meter while I waited, thus the higher fare.
I wasn't happy or impressed with their difficult attitude and pointed out that thanks to me they had gotten home safely without getting picked up for drunk driving, or killing anyone in a car crash and that if they weren't so tight and cheap they'd realise that the $16 fare was good value!
Unimpressed with my persuasive argument the bloke, who must have been 60 if he was a day, threw the $12 on the seat and got out whilst delivering a stream of complaint, abuse and eventually threats.
They had put their eskie in the back of the car and when they requested it be returned I requested they pay the money they owed me! I turned the car around and attempted to drive away but the most obnoxious one of them stood right in front of the car and refused to move, even when I kept driving forward! He in fact sprawled himself across the bonnet and continued his abuse. I couldn't dislodge him but as he realised my intent was growing finally climbed off the bonnet and "agreed" to pay the balance of the fare in order to ransom his eskie. All the while he continued to berate me and tell me what he would do to me if I'd only get out of the car! I told him to go away, in more colourful language! He proceeded to punch the car window twice then smashed the side vision mirror, leaving blood stains on the window as evidence of his aggro.
Having received the balance of the fare and surrendered the eskie I was finally able to drive off, angry and shaken. All this over $4! I waved down a police car and reported the incident as well as going round to the taxi depot to tell the boss what had happened. I heard later that the passengers had also contacted the police to complain about me. Not sure if any more will come of it but the police were very sympathetic towards me, knowing from their own experience the particular pleasure of dealing with drunks and their obnoxious, aggressive and anti-social behaviour.
Later I was flashed by a kid with his penis hanging out as I drove past, his mate pointing and waving in order to make sure I saw what was on display!
Then as I returned from a fare to Dunsborough a car I overtook tail-gated me for a few kms then overtook me, yelling abuse as they did, before slowing down and forcing me to also slow down until we were both doing about 45 in a 90 zone! This continued for a further 4-5 km until I picked up the phone and rang the police to report their behaviour and rego number. They must have seen me on the phone because shortly after they pulled over and I was able to go past and continue on my way back to town unimpeded.
An eventful and at times unpleasant night in the life of a country taxi driver!
Australia has a notoriously high Easter road toll each year. Encountering this sort of behaviour and getting caught up in it emotionally and personally makes me realise just how easily bad things can happen.