The Trouble With Travel: Taxi from Hell


Earlier this year, I flew in the San Antonio airport in Texas around supper time and I was exhausted.  The airport in Dallas was hot and chaotic and I was really tired from the day of usual travel issues with delayed flights and a long ride into the airport.  I had not eaten, so I was already on edge and I really just wanted to get to my hotel room for some rest.  Upon arrival at the airport, I walked down to the baggage claim area and waited, for what seemed like ages, for my single bag to arrive.  I am the worst at checking luggage even when it is small.  I hate to navigate airports with a roller bag.  Once I retrieved my bag, I headed out to the taxi line to wait on a car.  Normally, when in San Antonio for business, I choose to rent a car, but I had desired to make this trip without a car since it was supposed to be a quick one.

The taxi line was quite a happening place for some reason on this day.  The line was long and everyone seemed overly sensitive and agitated to be waiting in the line to begin with.  When my cab finally arrived, I hopped in and was nice and kind to the driver, as usual.  The driver was very quiet and I could see that he was not happy.  This seemed to be contagious around the airport.  He asked me where I was going, and it was just up the road less than 5 miles away.  He clued me in very quickly as to the source of his anger.  He was frustrated because the airport has a line for taxis where they have to wait in the order they arrive to the airport for riders.  At this time of day, San Antonio traffic is horrid on the interstate, and traffic at the airport had been very slow until the time of my arrival.  Lucky me.  So, this guy had been waiting in line for quite some time for a rider.  He then got stuck with a passenger who only needed to go up the road a bit.  He told me that he thought it was unfair that he sat that long for so little money.  Well, it kind of set me off because it wasn’t my fault.  What was I supposed to do?

I offered to get out and let him get another passenger, but he just dismissed my comment.  He told me that he was going to be recording the time it took to get to the hotel because the traffic was bad and he wanted to show how much time it took out of his day to get to the hotel to drop me off for pocket change.  He complained the whole way to our destination and picked up a clipboard to make notes at every light and area of congestion.  After making his notes, he would throw his clipboard across the car.  At this point, I began to wonder if I was going to get to use some of my martial arts training on this guy because he seemed quite unstable.  This set me on edge and I was ready to pounce if he made a move.  Eventually, we made it to the hotel and he turned to me and said, “surely you are paying with cash, right?”.  Of course I was not paying with cash as I rarely travel with any.  I offered to go in and get some from the ATM if that would make him happy.  He didn’t really like my assumption that he was cranky, although I was most certainly accurate.  I ended up paying him by card and giving him a decent tip.  I let him know that the whole experience was pretty crappy and I hoped the rest of his night was better.  He pulled off without saying another word making me wish I had not tipped him at all.  Some people just don’t know how to react when life doesn’t go the way they want.

Author: Phil

Phil Williams is an engineer with around 20 years of information technology industry experience with past focus areas in security, performance, and compliance monitoring and reporting. Phil is a husband, father of 6 children, and an avid geek who loves building computers, gaming, and gadgets. He has an undergraduate degree in general IT sciences and has worked with the US Government as a contractor for over 20 years. He is now in a security solutions advisory role for a large vendor supporting commercial and enterprise customers.

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