I have been a frequent taxi rider for 15 years. In my twice-a-day rides, I have met countless of taxi drivers whose taxi tales are interesting enough to merit retelling. I have written about The Lucky One, Basta Driver, Sweet Lover, The Good Ones, The Unlucky One, The Naughty One, The Helpful One, The Talkative One, The XXX One (Words Fail Me), and The Proud One.
Recently, I have been leaning towards taking Uber rides due to the convenience the service offers. I can say that once one has turned into Uber vehicles, one cannot go back to hailing taxis. Uber cars are newer, smell cleaner and fresher, more spacious and although I do not necessarily care about sounds because I would rather listen to news, have drivers with better taste in music. On the downside, some Uber drivers seem like it is my privilege to ride their car with the way they act. I recant what I wrote in Uber Tales – Above and Beyond, Part I where I said that Uber drivers are more polite than taxi drivers. I had a small sample size then, now that its size has swelled, I can say that some Uber drivers act high and mighty, but I will not let that negativity affect this space. Fortunately, there are those who skew the polite-and-friendly meter to the positive end, so much so that they become memorable.
One Saturday morning of June, I had the good luck to hail an Uber driver at the place where I live to Instituto Cervantes – Manila. If I leave Quezon City at 745am, the ride to Ayala Triangle usually takes from 20 to 25 minutes.
I said hello to the driver and greeted him good morning right after I settled in the backseat of his sweet-smelling car. I made small talk, which snowballed into him sharing something about his day thus far.
I found out that I was his third passenger since his day started, and he had an unfortunate incident with the one before me. The woman passenger made him wait for 15 minutes in the driveway of the hotel where she was billeted. Once she got inside the car, she told him, “pakibilisan. Late na ako” (“Hurry up! I am running late!”) without a mere mention of her being late. An apology from her for making the driver wait is out of question. It turned out that the woman’s destination was 10 minutes from the hotel, so the driver waited longer for her to sashay from her hotel room into the car than the entire trip itself. Ako ang nagigil because she felt that only her time was important and the driver’s was not.
After that, and to change the mood, I complimented the driver for his boy scout-level of preparedness to combat the hellish Metro Manila traffic. He had choc-nuts and coconut-sprinkled biscuits to stave off his passengers’ hunger, bottled mineral water (which were cold at the start of the day) to quench their thirst after eating the choc-nut, women’s magazines to curb boredom, and facial tissue for sweaty people like me or for those who are messy eaters. He just gave a merry laugher and told me it was his children’s idea. He encouraged me to get what I wanted or all of it if my heart desired. I told him, thank you but I did not get any because I used a P100 off promo that day. I added that I would pay him only a fraction of the fare and it would not be justifiable for me to get some freebies. He insisted, but I stood my ground and told him reserve the survival goods for his succeeding passengers. The evil in me asked him if he offered the same to the woman before me, he said, no. We both laughed, and I agreed that the woman did not deserve the same courtesy.
I asked him if I could take photos of his goodies and of the interior of his car, he nodded in agreement. So here they are: