Wednesday, April 11, 2012

22: degrees of intoxication

My first fare of the evening was in the West Valley. I called the passenger when I got to the location where I was to pick him up - he talked very quickly, and 'no habla ingles'. I hung up, called dispatch, and asked if they had someone who could call and interpret for me. A few minutes later my phone rang, and I learned that he was walking as quickly as he could.

I asked the fellow to sit in the front, so that I could better read his non-verbal directions. One thing I noticed right away was the alcohol on his breath. He was friendly, and said that he was going to visit 'la novia' (girlfriend). I refer to him as 'the happy Honduran'.

The next passenger gave the address for the special-needs pizza party place, but was nowhere to be found. I called, and he said he was at WalMart and would be right over. I accidentally sent a 'noshow' request on the computer system. They must've called him too, because I got a message on the screen that said he was on his way. 15 minutes later I called the passenger again, and he said he was busy cooking and asked if I'd wait another 15 minutes. Probably intoxicated.

I called dispatch and said something about how the 'jackass' wanted me to keep waiting. She made some notes and took me off the job, without assessing the $2 charge. 20 minutes later the jerk called, and said he was ready to be picked up. I'm rather flexible about waiting a few minutes, but sometimes it's important to get angry at people who try to take advantage of you.

A hispanic teenager tried to flag me down for a trip south, while I was looking for the jackass. Maybe I should've taken him instead.

By this point I was relatively close to the company's cabstand at Westgate, so I went there and got in line. A fare offer came in when I was second in line, which I decided to take. This was a man with a herd of kids - 4 or 5 (side note: I imagine LilDebbie would be a dad just like this fellow, if not for those tragic circumstances) . They had intended to take the bus home, but they'd given up after waiting 2 hours. They'd come to Westgate so his son could play in a football game. It was an interesting conversation, and a decent fare. Not intoxicated.

Next I picked up a hispanic woman at WalMart, going home from work. Not intoxicated.

Hispanics at the Club, another wasted woman

Next fare were two young not-yet-intoxicated hispanic fellows. Their club was very close to the cab company's base of operations. After they paid I noticed a fellow standing outside my window. The back of his shirt must've said 'Security', but all I saw was the 'S'.

The hispanic woman with him was wasted. She quietly gave an address, and we started south. Before long I heard noises. My taxicab trainer had said that if someone yaks in your cab your night is basically over, and that it's easier to carry a plastic garbage bag. I grabbed the bag from the seatback pocket and opened it, but didn't know if it was too late.

She was with it enough to say that I'd driven past her street. I subtracted $2 from her fare, and she found $xx in her wallet. I put the $3 change back for her, then opened the cab door to help her out. The front of her shirt was covered with puke. I thought it was very courteous of her to deposit it there, rather than the floor of the cab. I held on to her as we headed in the direction she indicated. She was in no shape to climb the stairs to her apartment either, and also could not put the key in the lock.

There was a look of appreciation in her eyes, then the door closed. I heard the door lock, and as I walked away I heard a 'thunk', just like a body hitting the floor. Hopefully she made it through the night.

Loaner cab, witness to an accident

I inspected the back seat when I got back to the cab. There were some moist areas that had a faint smell of vomit - enough that I couldn't expect someone to sit back there. I called dispatch and asked if they had any loaners left. Luckily I was only 3 miles away. The original prius had 52,000 miles, while the loaner had 335,000. There's no charge from the company for detail service - as this is a part of running a cab leasing service.

My next destination  was WalMart, for more garbage bags. A few cars back while waiting to turn left, a white minivan came flying through the intersection and somehow hit the car in the intersection's left turn lane. Sparks flew as the minivan jumped the curb and planted itself on the corner. The driver of the minivan jumped out and was hopping-mad. Some dudes in 'security' shirts showed up within seconds. I called 911 to report a fresh accident at the intersection. The dispatcher asked if either of the cars had rolled, and if there were any injuries. There was already plenty of attention on the scene, so I went on my way.

I don't remember this next guy very well, but my notes say that he was kicked out of the pub, and was "nicely drunk". After him was a fellow who was going to Las Vegas to play poker: "drunk, but functional".

The next woman was much more wobbly than the previous two men, but less drunk than the woman who'd forced me to get the loaner cab earlier.

After her was another guy who said it was the 1st time in quite a while that he's needed a cab. Barely intoxicated enough to need a cab.

The Great Spirit Takes Care of TaxiCabJesus

My next fare was scheduled for 5am - she was going to work in the V.A. Hospital's food service. On weekdays she takes the bus, but this is not available at 5am on Sunday. Not intoxicated.

I was about ready to turn in for the night. There were two fares in zone 199, which was on the way back to my Ride Share's house. I asked for one, figuring I'd pick up another $6 or $10.

The computer told me to go to the Circle-K at 7th Avenue and Roosevelt. I went inside and asked the clerk, who said the guy I was looking for was outside, in yellow.

He was wearing a Kobe Bryant Lakers jersey, and had gone to the Suns-Lakers game with his girlfriend. She'd disappeared minutes before the end of the game. He wanted to get back to his car in Gilbert, and wanted to know what kind of fare he was looking at. I don't know how drunk he still was, but he looked exhausted.

I looked up the distance on the GPS, and quoted him a flat fare that was a bit of a discount. We got on the road, and he asked to stop at WalMart so he could get a charger for his dead android phone. That added $10 to my flat fare.

His car was parked in the movie theater's lot. They'd seen a movie, then taken a single car to the basketball game. When we were almost to his car, he remembered: "my keys, they're in my girlfriend's car..." He called work to say that he wasn't going to make it to work, on account of his car not starting (this was distressing because of the missed overtime). His coworker said they needed him. My passenger repeated his line about "... my car won't start?", but the coworker said to just call for a taxi. My passenger hung up, sighed, and said to just take him to work... in Globe, 65+ miles away.

I called my ride share to let him know that I'd be late getting the car back to him. He didn't really care, because Sunday mornings are usually fairly quiet.

I thought about giving him a discount on his 65-mile fare, but then I thought better of it, as I'd have to drive another 90+ miles to get back to my ride-share's house. The Lakers fan needed to learn a lesson about drinking, methinks.

No comments:

Post a Comment