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An Adventure: The Taxi Driver…

25/04/2011
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“We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.” Henry David Thoreau

An Adventure: The Taxi Driver... a London cabbie

An Adventure: The Taxi Driver... an atypical colored London cabbie

The new decade began with a bang and lots of adventure. I had decided to move to the USA and, as word spread, friends in London and elsewhere invited me to even more parties and celebrations as a way to say goodbye, bon voyage… our last hurray! One fateful night in January, one of my girlfriends, Ije, invited me to attend a party in North Finchley. It was supposed to be a surprise party but since we both hated surprises, she told me anyway.

Back in the day, friends would go to each others homes to get ready for a party; those were the earliest rumblings of the entourage scene. That night, Ije stopped by my home with her outfit. We got dressed and called our local taxi service in Golders Green but, the wait was going to be too long. Ije and I figured we’d walk to the High Street (GG Rd) and grab a cabbie and head off to the party. As I remember it, it was snowing quite heavily that evening and traffic was sparse. Fortunately, or so we thought at the time, we didn’t have to wait too long. Soon a black cab, known as a London black cabbie (hackney carriage), swerved around the corner, almost striking the metal frame of the bus shelter where we stood to avoid the snowfall.

We happily waved at him, thanking the gods of small favors, and when he wound down the passenger side window, we asked if he could give us a ride to the address in Finchley. “Yes me love… hop in; it’s on me way home anyway!” he said slurring his speech. Well, I say that now, but at the time, I just thought he had a slight speech impediment or a rather thick cockney accent. We hopped in and he shot off like a Nascar driver in the race of his life.

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien

An Adventure: The Taxi Driver... London black cab or hackney carriage

An Adventure: the Taxi Driver... Taxicabs line up at Waterloo Station

Ije and I looked at each other and, like typical youthful idiots, thought it was funny…. that is until he ran through the first set of red traffic lights. At that moment, we leaned forward and asked him to slow down… Bob as we shall call him, chuckled, and waving us off, stepped on the accelerator. As he sped through the second set of red lights, Ije and I started screaming for him to let us out but he was far gone to the winds to care. As we crossed the 4th red light on Finchley Road, sirens sounded and, lo and behold, a police car was now chasing us up the street. Bob gassed the car and picked up speed with the police in hot pursuit. The whole scene was surreal and Ije and I sat in the back; shocked and scared … then we started praying fervently.

Suddenly, Bob swerved right, then left, and opening the door to the driver’s side, jumped out of the moving car! He hit the road hard, got up and with a limp, started hobbling, and soon running down the street. The Police car came to a halt and a Bobbie (cop) jumped out in pursuit of our drunken Bob. No, I was not in a Bond movie. The taxicab, which had not stopped, swerved, hit a lamp post and came to a thunderous stop.

Meanwhile, Ije and I looked at each other… in horror. We were flabbergasted, but knew we had to get out of there as we could hear more sirens and police cars whizzing by. Bob was sozzled, it was cold and snowing, and if we stood around waiting for the bobbies to come back, tow his car, take us down to the station to get our side of the story… well, we’d be there all night. He was going to be off the street and locked up and that was justice enough for us. We hopped out of the cab and headed in the opposite direction. At that point, we didn’t really care if we made it to the party or not, we just wanted to get off Finchley Road.

As fate would have it, as we walked hurriedly, trying to distance ourselves from that nightmare, a friend pulled up and gave us a ride to our destination. For the rest of the night, people kept asking us to re-tell the story again and again… We called it the story of our hellish ride with the taxi driver.
A few days later, I was on a plane, on my way to the US and a life of more adventure. Have you had a similar experience? Do share. 🙂

This post was inspired by a Daily Post prompt on The Worst Driver we ever met.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever had a taxicab ride with the driver from hell? Do share. . Thank You! 🙂
Positive Motivation Tip: Cherish all moments; even misadventure can both strengthen and motivate us to achieve more.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of London Taxicab, London, Waterloo TaxiColored taxicab,   London Black cab, via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

36 Comments leave one →
  1. 26/04/2011 12:06 am

    Oh so funny and scary at the same time! I had such an adventure when I was very young riding in a cab in San Francisco with my parents. The streets are so steep and windy and the cab driver was going so fast that I swear we were airborne more than once!! It was like a roller coaster ride but I was definitely glad to get out of that cab! (Hadn’t thought of that in years!)

    • 28/04/2011 5:55 am

      OMG! That must have been a total nightmare and I wonder if he drove you down that famous windy street?
      Airborne? Yikes! I would have been screaming. 🙂
      Eliz

  2. 26/04/2011 12:26 am

    Yes, funny AND scary. I was once in a public transit bus that took a corner on three wheels. (A public transit bus usually has 6 wheels….)

    • 28/04/2011 5:54 am

      Isn’t that nuts? You can’t make this stuff up. Now if it was a movie, they will have us being hunted down by the police or walking to the next train station, wet and cold, and catching a train. But because this happened in what was essentially the parameters of my neighborhood, it was not unusual for a friend in a car to see us, all dolled up in our party clothes and heels, and offer us a ride… We were happy and fortunate that our friend was driving by… very blessed. 🙂
      Eliz

  3. 26/04/2011 12:27 am

    Yes, I have! A group of us had been out for Friday night drinks and we caught a taxi home. Like yours, he was not the best driver in the world. During the journey, we discovered his licence to drive a cab had expired at midnight. We asked why hadn’t he renewed? “Oh, I’ve got a bit of bother with the pigs.” Right. And you are driving us home? At least there were several of us. We made him stop well before the first drop-off so he didn’t know where any of us lived. We ALL got out – and found alternative transport from our friend’s house.

    • 28/04/2011 5:57 am

      Oh yeah… the pigs! I bet Bob knew them well and that is why he took off like a rocket. 🙂
      Those were the days! 🙂

  4. 26/04/2011 1:01 am

    Well, you certainly will not forget your last cab ride in London – what a send-off from the UK!
    I hope the USA hasn’t disappointed you in the way of adventures – although that is one you could have done without!

    • 28/04/2011 5:58 am

      Life became pretty tame here…. but there are funny stories. 🙂
      Eliz

  5. 26/04/2011 2:40 am

    indeed you are a good storyteller 🙂

  6. 26/04/2011 3:09 am

    Oh dear, that is so funny. Scary, but funny once you’ve escaped. It’s amzing what we used to do when we were young and immortal isn’t it? But, then again, I think I would probably make those same excuses for the cab driver now if it happened to me too. One of the perils of seeing the best in the world, I suppose 🙂

    • 28/04/2011 6:01 am

      Yes and that is why I didn’t forget to share our first connection with Bob on the road… For crying out loud, he swerved into the bus shelter and we still hopped in… Guys used to do that in London, you know. If you were dressed nicely, cute and young, they’d act like they’d lost control of their cars for a brief second… I can’t believe I remember this old silliness. 🙂

  7. 26/04/2011 4:00 am

    Wow! That’s an amazing story. But you do know you ran away from a crime scene?

    • 26/04/2011 9:33 am

      Meanwhile, Ije and I looked at each other… in horror. We were flabbergasted, but knew we had to get out of there as we could hear more sirens and police cars whizzing by.

      I had the same thought as Tilly . . . why did you leave?

    • 26/04/2011 12:34 pm

      Now on reflection I do, but back then, No. Some people like to be in the middle of drama; heck I see stories on the news of people trying to insert themselves into accident scenes and more…
      Some of us have an aversion for all that drama. As young people, we were scared and just wanted to get away from the drama and craziness. This happened many years ago. 🙂

    • 26/04/2011 12:36 pm

      Hi Tilly & Nancy,
      Since both of you asked why we left the scene, I’ve added an explanation to the post:

      Bob was sozzled, it was cold and snowing, and if we stood around waiting for the bobbies to come back, tow his car, take us down to station to get our side of the story… well, we’d be there all night. He was going to be off the street and locked up and that was justice enough for us.

      Keep in mind, this happened many years ago… before I came to the US to attend college. Now on reflection I get it, but back then, No. Some people like to be in the middle of drama; heck I see stories on the news of people trying to insert themselves into accident scenes and more… I don’t like drama. We were young, it was not familiar territory for us, we were not used to hanging out with bobbies, let alone being questioned by them… We wanted to get away from it all for our own safety too.
      Some of us have an aversion for all that drama. As young people, we were scared and just wanted to get away from the drama and craziness. As I said earlier, this happened many years ago. 🙂
      Okay… now I’m repeating myself but you get the drift. 🙂
      Thanks ladies and as I read the story again, it sure made me laugh… It wasn’t funny at the time though.
      Thanks everyone for your comments! 🙂

  8. 26/04/2011 5:44 am

    that was truly entertaining and scary at the same time lol xXx

    • 26/04/2011 12:58 pm

      Thanks for your comment and yes, it was definitely generous servings of both. We were so shocked by it all as it made no sense why he was choosing to drive so recklessly. I’m glad we lived to tell the story… others have not been so lucky. 🙂

  9. 26/04/2011 6:01 am

    Wow what an experience. Has it put you off using a London cabbie again?

    • 26/04/2011 12:38 pm

      No Tim,
      I grew up in London and have taken many taxis there. This was a rare incident and that is why I shared it. The most nonsense I’ve gotten from a London cabbie is the usual potty mouth stuff… but we can all handle that. I love London cabs otherwise. 🙂

  10. 26/04/2011 10:34 am

    You are very lucky both of you! We had one horrific cab ride in Nassau. It was a van and there were six of us going back to our cruise ship after a lovely dinner on the island. The cabbie was trying to be entertaining and funny but he was only terrifying. He was riding on the shoulder… wrong side of the road… playing chicken with oncoming traffic til I was begging to get out.

    When we were within sight of the ship we started to feel a bit more relaxed until he decided to go up the hill before coming down. It made no sense, but none of it had anyway. He got to the top of the hill and said “hold on!” then tore down the hill like a lunatic and came to a swerving, slam on the brakes stop in front of the ship.

    We all got his # and reported him as soon as we got out of his sight!

    My question for you is the same as many others have asked… why did you leave? You’d done nothing wrong.
    Anyway… great story! Thanks.

    • 28/04/2011 5:48 am

      Same thing I said to Tilly and Nancy. We knew we had done nothing wrong… we simply wanted to distance ourselves from the insanity of that night’s event. We were lucky to be alive!
      I have never forgotten what a harrowing ride it was… anyone who has driven on Finchley Road at night will totally get the lunacy of Bob’s actions. 🙂
      Eliz

  11. 26/04/2011 10:59 am

    So glad you and your friend emerged in one piece from that scary ordeal!
    Eliz, you brought back a memory of another taxi ride that my husband and I took…over 43 years ago. We had just gotten married that morning and were on our way to St. Thomas for our honeymoon. The flights at JFK had been delayed because of bad weather, and by the time we arrived in San Juan, our connecting flight that would take us to our honeymoon destination had already left. The airline gave us a voucher for a htoel, dinner and cab ride. After a frantic search through the airport, they finally located our luggage and we left the terminal and hailed a cab. Little did we know that our cabbie must have been in training for the Indianapolis 500 and, just like your driver, ours had also had a few too many. Needless to say, we had the ride of our lives, and emerged from the taxi, at the entrance to the hotel, happy that we still had our lives. It was definitely an interesting way to start our married life…we’ve been married over 43 years…maybe that’s how we should all begin. 🙂
    Eliz, you have a gift for tickling our memory banks and encouraging us to share.

    • 28/04/2011 6:07 am

      He must have been Bob’s brother or …. Uncle! Lol!
      Lucky for all of us that we made it out alive… there have been cases that ended badly.
      Thank God for mercies. 🙂
      Eliz

  12. 26/04/2011 1:56 pm

    I’ve only been on wild and crazy cab rides in Italy. But once in London, a friend and I got into a cab outside the club we’d been in all night (that’s a whole ‘nother wild story!) and realized about half way to our hostel that it wasn’t a real cab!! Just some guy offering rides for money outside the club in the taxi line… I’m pretty sure he just made up the fare and we gladly got out of the fake cab at our destination!

    • 28/04/2011 9:04 pm

      Now you were lucky on that note too because we were told to never enter those gypsy cabs as they called them… You never knew when a creep was looking for more than a quick buck. He probably charged you less because he wanted to be sure to get paid. 🙂

  13. 26/04/2011 6:14 pm

    I have never had a taxi drive like your experience, or even close. It does sound like a James Bond movie !! 🙂
    I do not like drama neither, will always take the high road to escape it’s fury !!

    • 28/04/2011 6:06 am

      Same here… we literally took the high road! 🙂
      Eliz

  14. Bree permalink
    26/04/2011 6:18 pm

    What a riot and a scary funny story. I would have been terrified too as I hate speeding.
    Good thing the bobbies went after him.
    I understand your explanation. The bobbies had chased Bob down the street. You were lucky to be alive in the snow and cold and moved on. I’d have wanted out of there too. Plus, this was London and not the US with police activity and lawsuits. Most in Europe would have just wanted the bad guy gone.
    Funny post! 🙂
    B

    • 28/04/2011 6:05 am

      Exactly! Nowadays, people look at the financial and legal advantages of hanging around.
      I didn’t feel I had been victimized, I had my life and knew he was going to get caught.
      We were even. 🙂

  15. 26/04/2011 7:36 pm

    What a great story. So its true about London cabbies? I love your posts for the cultural nuances.

    • 28/04/2011 6:02 am

      Thank you Jackie and I have a quite a number of these cultural escapades. 🙂
      Eliz

  16. 23/04/2012 3:29 am

    Good grief!

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