The Breaks.

One thing I know is that every time I am well on my way to having a good night out there on the roads, something bad ends up happening.

After dropping off a guy on 97th street and Columbus Avenue, I notice my battery light was on on the dashboard.  The light must have just came on and I was thinking to myself “oh no not again…not on a night like this…”  So I pull over to a parking spot, turn my engine off and take a look to see what could be the heart of the issue.  The owner’s manual tells me that there is likely an issue with the alternator not charging my battery.  Uh oh.

Nevertheless after talking to my dad about it, I take it to a taxi shop on the west side to get it checked out.  He thinks that maybe I need a new battery, I didn’t think so but you gotta (discount) double-check.  The fellas at the shop take a look at my car and tell me what I feared- that my alternator belt broke.  Fuck.  There’s no way I can continue working because I don’t want the car to stall out on me in the middle of a fare and so I’m praying that I have enough juice to make it back home.  A risky proposition for sure living near JFK airport…had I lived in Astoria for example, I’d have no problem.

I turn my GPS and radio off to maximize my battery life and I’m off to the races.  No problems as I head onto the Long Island Expressway and I’m on my way heading towards the Grand Central Parkway when I get hit with a flashback. 7 years ago, I had a similar issue with a private car- a Toyota 4Runner.  Against my dad’s wishes, I took the car into the city to watch a girl friend of mine play.  Afterwards, on my way back the transmission gave up on me as I was on the ramp getting on the eastbound GCP.  As that image hits me, I start noticing that my ABS lights are coming on.  I feel my car beginning to malfunction as I’m getting on the aforementioned ramp.  ARE YOU A FAN OF DEJA VU???

The hazards gotta come on and I pull safely over onto the shoulder.  The worst part about this was that since I’m now on a parkway and not an expressway, it will take longer for a tow truck to be able to successfully take me home.  Not to mention, since I’m driving a cab, I require a flatbed.  I holla at AAA to see if they can get me an available tow truck but they tell me they’ll only be able to get me off the highway…and afterwards I’d have to call for ANOTHER truck.  Really tho?  The frustrating thing too was that I was about 1000 feet from the next exit.  A tow truck does come within 15 minutes and offers to take me off the road, but he can’t since it’s not a flatbed.  After waiting about 90 minutes in the cold (thank God I had my big coat on), one finally arrives.  He loads it up…and takes 2 minutes to get me off the exit and to a safe spot.


But that’s fine, AAA will cover that cost.  Or so I thought.

I call them back to tell them that I’m off the highway and to bring another truck.  I forget to tell them though that I need a flatbed.  An hour or so passes when the truck arrives (it’s not a flatbed) and I tell the driver that I need one.  He also was on the phone with AAA and when they find out that my car is a taxi, they tell me that they don’t service taxis & limos.


WTF is the point then of me having an AAA membership then?!

Anyhow, after waiting another hour (my car mind you had been broken down since 1120pm and it was now 3am when the flatbed came), he finally arrives, loads the car up and away we go.  Tell me how this “only” cost $110?  He tried saying that it would cost $140 but math certainly isn’t his strong suit.  $65 to load it up, then $5 per mile (9 miles, so $45).  That’s $110 buddy.  I give him $120.

Fortunately, the problem has now been rectified and we’ll be good to go for tonight.  And so on.


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