Saturday, November 8, 2008

Driving service

I don't know if it has anything to do with the falling price of oil, and the resulting drop in the price of petrol. I don't know if it has anything to do with the impending removal of the 30 cents taxi surcharge. I don't know what the recession is doing to people. Or is it simply because I was irritated?

I bought a 5-level stocker yesterday - quite large by normal standards. A brave decision because I don't drive and I was at Giant, Tampines - which is as far away from civilisation that you could find in urban Singapore. How could I lug that home, I wondered? It wouldn't fit in a bus without my getting cold stares from the public and walking was definitely not a option. Taxis were the only means of transporting that stocker and myself home. I was hopeful that it would fit into the booth of a taxi. You'd have to try, right? And anyway, if it didn't, surely it would fit in the back seat?

A Comfort taxi came along after a very short wait. I asked the driver to open his booth, but lo and behold, there were a couple of pails in there. I asked the driver if he could somehow remove the pails (perhaps to the front passenger seat) so that I could try to fit my stocker into the booth. He threw a glance at my stocker and said it wouldn't fit. All this while he kept his bum on his seat. He just wasn't interested to help think of alternatives, nor to come off his seat and his taxi to assess my situation more closely. He just wasn't interested, period. It was just a 'take it or leave it, I'm not going to help attitude'. There wasn't anybody else in the queue. He was just 'happy' to burn petrol while waiting for some other would-be passenger to come by. Eventually, he drove off without a passenger.

Meanwhile, I waited for the next cab to come by, hoping I would get more help. Another did come by, a Premier Taxi. This time, the driver got off his taxi and helped me fit the stocker into his booth. It didn't fit, so he suggested the back seat. He helped me put it in and we were off. All this probably took less than 2 minutes - and he earned not only my cab fare, but my respect. I took down his name and cab number, silently. This was stuck on his windscreen. I mean to write to Premier to let them know that they have an excellent driver.

It is often said that we remember the bad things people do, and not the good. Well, I had forgotten to take down the number of the first taxi. I should have so that I could also write to Comfort Cab about the rotten apples in its basket of cab drivers.