I’m not a cop. I’m not the father or guardian of any of my customers. My job is to get them where they want to go. I’m frankly not concerned with what they do in their private lives as long as they don’t get me involved. That’s why I have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. I’m not going to ask you and please don’t tell me if you’re doing something on the wrong side of the law. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I think a customer is involved in a robbery, burglary or some other property crime or a violent crime I’ll do everything I can to alert the authorities. If it’s not a violent crime, not a property crime, I practice don’t ask, don’t tell. Some customers won’t just out and out tell you what they’re doing but for some reason they feel the need to come up with an elaborate cover up story. Here’s an example, you can draw your own conclusions.
The address was inside the city limits of Mountain Brook. Called the “Tiny Kingdom” by many, this is one of the wealthiest suburbs in the south, maybe even the nation. It certainly is THE wealthiest incorporated town in Alabama. Adjacent to the city of Birmingham, it seems like it should just be a neighborhood of the city, but like most of the other suburbs, it’s incorporated on it’s own.
She was blond, 30’s,looked like she could have been a soccer mom or the mother of a sitcom family. She felt the need to tell me an elaborate tale about where she was going and what she was doing. “I’m going to have you take me to a terrible neighborhood” she said. “My friend lives there and she can’t afford diapers for her baby. I can’t stand to see that baby suffer. I’m going to take her some money to buy diapers”. “Do you mind taking me there?” I knew the address that she gave me to be in the 110 zone near the airport. I assured her that I wasn’t afraid to go there and I didn’t mind taking her. For most of the way she went on about how bad the neighborhood was and how she was afraid. “If it wasn’t for that pitiful baby I wouldn’t go” she said several times.
Before we got there she asked me to stop at a convenience store out in the Woodlawn area. “I told my husband I would stop and pick up a couple of beers for him. I don’t drink” she said emphatically. The store where we stopped really did look a little scary. The front was covered with burglar bars and when she opened the door I could see that the clerks worked behind bullet proof glass. There were a bunch of shady looking characters hanging around outside. She entered the store as if she had been there a thousand times, she didn’t seem scared at all. She returned with two Bud tall boys and we continued on to deliver the “diaper money”.
It was an average looking house for the neighborhood. Of course it wasn’t anything comparable to what my customer was used to in the Tiny Kingdom. It wasn’t fancy but it wasn’t falling down either. When she went in she said “I won’t be long. I won’t be gone long enough for anything terrible to happen to you out here.” I didn’t tell her that this place looked like Shangri La compared to some places where I’ve waited on people.
She returned a few minutes later even more hyper and giddy than when she went in. In an almost panicky but obviously fake shrill voice she said “quick, get me out of this terrible neighborhood!” I guess she forgot that she had told me that she didn’t drink. About halfway home I heard her pop open one of the tall boys that she had bought back at the ghetto store. Passengers aren’t supposed to drink in cabs but I figured that maybe she needed it for her “anxiety”. I don’t know how much she gave her friend to buy those “diapers” but she paid me forty dollars to take her there and back.
copyright 2013 R.W. Walker
*All views and opinions are strictly those of R.W. Walker. These views do not reflect the views of any cab company.