The best way to get even with a cab driver in Singapore is to pick up the phone and lodge a complaint. This will certainly go on their record. A former flat mate of mine did just that after she came from Cold Storage. Maybe he – cab driver – woke up at the wrong side of the bed or something but his rudeness certainly merited a call to the cab company. First, he grudgingly unloaded the trunk of the cab of the groceries and, second, nearly hit her as he manoeuvred out of the driveway of Stevens Close.  She never found out what happened to that cab driver but she felt that he’d change his ways.

Complaints about cab drivers in Singapore and the Philippines are varied with the former accounting for top grievances of tardiness and rudeness. Grumbles about Philippine cab drivers, on the other hand, on top of the rudeness, include not using the meter to calculate the fare. To make things worse, passengers always get this sinking feeling that even if you jot down the number and make that call, your grievance would just be tossed aside. The situation gets reversed and you, the victim, actually end up as the culprit. But there is justice every now and then especially when you’re faced with a thick-faced cab driver who appropriates the spirit of the moment (Christmas and New Year unearth the weirdoes!) for his materialistic personal motives.

My father flagged down a cab, not wanting to be caught in traffic en route to the state university one December afternoon. When he got in, he was met with that unctuous greeting that always riled our family.

“Sir, dagdag naman po ng Phil20,” the cab driver said with a Cheshire cat grin, related my father.

“Alam ko,” was the curt reply that met the cab driver, “nagbibigay naman talaga ako.”

The drive to the university was relatively a smooth and quiet one with the cab driver thinking he’d earn extra money and my father spared of the badgering. They reached their destination and my father alighted without bothering to collect the change.

“Limang piso lang,” was the very disappointed remark of the driver, which was audible enough for my father to hear.



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