Hey Guys & Gals!
I feel really strongly about what I’m about to tell you…
So the other day I got a mini cab to take me back home from the music school I work at part time, after I was done teaching the flute, clarinet and alto saxophone (which is super rewarding by the way see this old blog post for examples of what I do).
Anyway so I got in the cab, same as usual and we started moving on my way back home, same as usual.
Then suddenly! The guy starts saying something in an overexcited and agitated way, I’m like “what?” and he pulls in and parks and starts talking. At this point I’m confused and worried, I don’t know what’s going on, I just want to go home and I wasn’t sure whether we had broken down or not. All I know is I am a single young women and my male taxi driver has decided to take it upon himself to deviate from the route he has been directed/contracted to go. I felt so incredibly vulnerable.
At first I genuinely couldn’t understand what he was saying because his accent was so heavy. Eventually he spoke a tiny bit slower and said “Just two minutes, I want two minutes to pray”. I said “I’ve got to go home”. At this point he’s still not even making any attempt to move the car an it was clear to me that I didn’t have any choice. I did not have any control of the vehicle because it was not mine, I wasn’t very agile as I had an instrument with me as well as shopping and I certainly do not have the upper body strength to even appear the least bit threatening.
I felt so vulnerable and trapped and I thought if this guy was to just lock the door and drive off where ever with me he could, my position of client was usurped and my choice was taken away from me.
I said to the guy “are you going to take those two minutes off the bill?” and he said “yes” then I said”ok”. I would just like to point out at this point that all of this happened whilst he was parked. He didn’t ask me if we could stop he just stopped.
Now, once I had agreed to do what he wanted me to he got out of the car and got something out of the boot. I didn’t see it but I can only assume that it was a prayer mat which he proceeded to put on the side walk and pray on. He then did something with the boot again, closed it, then got back in the car and proceeded to take me home.
After I got over being scared I was soo livid. However, as a Christian, I remembered what Jesus said about forgiving people and I tried to just calm down and meet the guy where he was at and I tried to have a jovial conversation with him afterwards about diesel versus petrol.
Now, there are several things that were seriously wrong with that story. One: I have a faith too, I pray too, I do that in my own time, not when I am in the middle of a contract that is live. I talk to Jesus in my head on the go or I find a quiet time and place, when I am not needed, to go and talk to Jesus. I exercise my faith on and in my time not other peoples because I don’t think that it is always necessary or constructive to do so.
Two: Men need to be aware of how sometimes their actions can seem threatening to women. Think about it. I am a young woman, I was alone in the taxi, he just deviated from the route without asking if it was ok. He then corners me emotionally and starts half arguing with me when we had already stopped. I was physically outnumbered in terms of operating the machinery which I needed to get home, as well as being physically incapable of overpowering the man or appearing the least bit intimidating. If I was a man and not a young woman carrying shopping and a flute he would never have stopped.
Three: He broke contract by what he did, unless he broke down or there was some real issue as to why he needed to stop, he should never have stopped.
Four: I should have said no.
I’m really upset by what happened and I simply will not be ever taking that taxi company ever again. If it was a Christian taxi driver and the man drove the taxi to the side, parked and then started half arguing with his female passenger asking if he could pray for two minutes she would have called the police. Like I should have done.
In the end he took two pounds off the bill, I personally don’t think I should have had to pay for that trip at all because as far as I was concerned, he broke contract.
Moreover, honestly, when did it become ok to abduct women in cabs? Because the moment he went his own way and wouldn’t move in accordance with my wishes, that is what he had done. He had actually abducted me. What he did was so illegal.
If that ever happens again, I’m going to get out of the taxi and walk back to the nearest safe place and get another taxi or bus or ask someone to pick me up from there because I’m not having this. One hears too many tales of women getting abducted and raped by rogue taxi drivers to be putting up with this stupidness. He could have been getting anything out of his boot? He could have just been lying.
This will never happen again, be vigilant!
Your’s Catherine x