I generally don’t work Wednesday nights. This past one was fairly slow overall with the combination of bad weather and people not being as out & about as they are on other nights. Every now and then you get swindled…but you actually feel much worse for them than you feel for yourself.
I was contemplating heading into Williamsburg to go to my favorite bodega before ending my shift. On Spring Street I see a dude give me a thumbs up asking me if I was free and I tell him that I am. Suddenly he gets in the cab and is slurring his words.
Him: Queenhs Parsons Boulevard. Queenhs
Me: Where on Parsons Boulevard??
Him: Parsons and Cornerstone.
Me: Never heard of that before…WHERE YOU GOING?
I let him smoke his cigarette in the cab (albeit with the windows rolled down) and then he immediately passes out. I’m hella worried because the first thing on my mind is that he’s gonna be one of those dudes I’m gonna have to call the police/EMTs on to wake his ass up. I already had a bad feeling he was gonna either attempt jumping the cab or give me some sob story about how he didn’t have any money on him. When I get off at the exit off the highway I pull up to an empty spot & make sure that he is responsive. By now yall know my style…I’m not touching a passenger to wake em up for legal reasons. After shouting at him for a good 10 minutes to wake his ass up…he finally responds and attempts to pay. It looked like it was gonna be all good…except that when he went to go swipe his credit card it wasn’t a credit card. It was a goddamn EBT Benefits Card.
WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT HERE??? (Vince Lombardi Voice)
He’s checking throughout his bag and can’t find a wallet or credit card. My immediate reaction is to be pissed that I got swindled but I had an odd feeling about this kid. He looked like he was in major trouble. Suddenly he snapped out of his stupor and became apologetic about not having the money to pay. Don’t know (nor care in the long term) if this was a tactic or not…but when you begin swearing to your mother et al fine I’ll believe it. He handed me 3 $1 bills which I refused to take…but he was adamant about me taking. I did. He even had me check his bag…in which all he had was an Arizona Iced Tea and a hospital band from a previous visit. No wallet, nothing. Actually, the exit of the Grand Central was close to where he needed to go so after shutting off the meter I took him to his place. He even wanted me to take his number and vowed that he would pay me back…but I really had no interest in paying him back. I did appease him by taking his number down though and got him out of the cab back to his destination. Thanks to the detective work of my girlfriend…she found out the place that I dropped him off at was a substance abuse rehabilitation center. HOOOO BOY THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING.
And so on.