As luck would have it, part way there we drove right into a protest. There’s no way the driver could have known — there were no signs, no indication of a march and we didn’t see them approaching until we were more than half way down the street.
We all groaned, including the cabbie. My friend suggested he turn around and take another street. He said he couldn’t turn around, rightly so, because by then the protesters were upon us. “Besides,” he said, “this is the street we have to take to get there.”
And then he totally blew my mind. He said he’d shut off his meter (which he did) until the protesters passed and we were in the clear.
No, it wasn’t an Uber. I know, everyone loves Uber. Everyone raves about Uber. Everyone takes Uber. What can I say? I do not. I don’t think it’s okay that their rates automatically “surge” when the demand for taxis is high. Can surgeons charge more money when it’s a busy day in the operating room?
Our was a regular, run of the mill Maple Leaf taxi. It was clean, it didn’t smell and the driver knew where he was going.
But most important of all, he is an honourable man — at a time when honesty, integrity, decency, principles, kindness, generosity, compassion and “honour” are in desperately short supply.
It’s not easy to make a living driving a cab, nor is it a fun way to spend eight to 10 hours a day, what with congestion, construction, detours, jaywalkers, cyclists who don’t stay in bike lanes, double-parked trucks and cars in no-stopping/no-parking zones and an endless supply of rude and cranky passengers.
Yet this man, an immigrant by the way (I say that only because of all the immigrant-bashing going on currently), deprived himself of a full fare — to which he was certainly entitled — so that we didn’t get stuck paying for getting stuck behind the United Steelworkers’ Union.
As I write this I can’t help but think of Donald Trump’s 14k faucets and the culture of greed that will destroy us if we don’t put an end to it.
In case you’re wondering, our driver got a huge (yuge) tip!