Wednesday, March 28, 2007

'Reed' detail

I was just belled to a restaurant to pick up Reed, a regular customer. Poor reed means well, but often comes up short. He's probably 50, and he likes to eat at one of two restaurants every night. Because of this I can't easily avoid him, unlike Marzetti who goes to the same restaurant every night.

The problem with Reed is that he's a man-child, almost to the point where I believe something may be wrong with him. He likes to offer $4 for a $4.60 fare, for starters, and he insists on having his hand held and being walked to the door.

I hate to sound like a homophobe, but I don't hold another man's hand. Never have, never will.

I started out refusing to hold his hand or walk him, and he would throw a fit, complete with crying and whining. That's fairly amusing when you're parked on a crowded street and people are watching.

Eventually I bucked up and just helped him. If he has problems, then we should help him. That and I could easily end up like Reed, and I would probably want some help. I let him hold my arm, like a woman might hold a man's arm when they're walking, so I can help him without holding his goddamned hand.

On the other side of the coin, he's doing it for attention. He walks just fine. I've seen him do it plenty of times, so it's frustrating. We have plenty of drivers who refuse to drive him, or if they do, they refuse to hold his hand.

The other oddity about Reed is that he has to sit in the front seat -- or, you guessed it, he cries and throws a fit. Cabbies don't like front seat company unless the back seat is full. It's just one of those things. You're a customer, not our buddy.

For the last few months I've been working on him. If I can just get him to buy a cane, the problems are solved. The first time I brought it up he just shrugged. I'm always very polite about it, telling him most people are happy to lend a hand to a nice guy (and he is a nice guy), but a lot of people would rather not.

A month ago he actually said "maybe" to the cane idea. There will come a time when I buy Reed his cane and give it to him. They're only $20 at Rite Aid; I checked.

I don't know what to do about getting him to sit in back. I'll probably lock the front door and tell him it's broken. That's easier than a confrontation. Soon he'll be armed with a cane.