Friday, April 20, 2007

The new guy

I tried really hard. I swear. We have a new Brazilian driver who's having a lot of trouble. When I heard the other drivers picking on him and deliberately giving him bad directions, I made a point of seeking him out at a cab stand to have a bit of a chat.

The old-timers can be bastards, I explained. I offered him encouragement and advised him to give it a month before quitting in anger. It takes a while to learn the city (the way a cab driver needs to know it), and it takes a while for the other drivers to accept a noob. I gave him my cell # and told him to call me for directions rather than use the radio. He appreciated that, and that I say "qualeh" and "obrigado" (sp?).

Later that same night I was dropping at a Marriott when I heard him get a bell to the same place. This is somewhat problematic because I have to tell the doorman I'm not the right cab. They don't like seeing an empty cab leave while customers are sitting around waiting. Many drivers would steal the ride, but I won't.

So I called the new guy and asked his 20, and he replied, in seriousness, that he was lost. That's a red flag. We only have a few Marriotts and they're all very easy to find. I knew where they all were before I started driving a cab.

Did I mention the guy has a dash-mount GPS? Why aren't the major hotels set as waypoints?

I waited for a while and then announced I was taking the customers. They shouldn't wait because a driver gets lost on his way to a central hotel.


Tonight I spoke with another driver, Juan, who had an interesting experience with the new guy last night. They had a two-cab call for one large party going to the same place. New Guy didn't know the destination hotel, so he said he would follow Juan. All seemed fine.

When they dropped, New Guy said he needed to follow Juan back to our zone. That's absurd on its face, but it gets better. Juan was going 10-21 (leaving, going home), so he couldn't follow. He was on his own.

Juan drove to a gas station near his house, and there was New Guy. He was following him home!

I feel bad for this guy, but maybe he's not cut out to be a cab driver. If you live in a city more than 10 years and don't know where anything is, you're not the type.

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