Conversations with a Singapore Taxi Driver – The Experienced One

For this encounter it is worth mentioning that this ride was taken on 31st October in the evening. You’ll see the significance in a bit. Our cabbie friend (a local Chinese descendent from his demeanour) asked if it was pay day, cause a string of passengers had paid with shiny 50 dollar bills! This led to him talking about passengers in the past who paid taxi fares with big bills. Apparently he even had someone who wanted to pay with a 1000 dollar bill!

He spoke in detail about a particular incident involving a passenger who paid for a S$4 taxi fare with a $100 bill. Our cabbie friend mentioned that from the very beginning he felt something wasn’t right about this but proceeded to return the change of S$95 to the passenger.

Unable to shake off the feeling that something was astray the cabbie asked his next passenger to help check if the $100 bill was a counterfeit one. Unfortunately the passenger was a teen who proclaimed that she wasn’t well versed in the art of spotting fake currency.

Our cabbie friend tried his luck with the next passenger, an elderly auntie. Fortunately for him, the auntie was a cashier at a local kopi stall and most certainly qualified to examine the currency note. His nagging feeling was confirmed once the auntie proclaimed that the note was indeed a fake.

Our friend was obviously disheartened on learning this because this meant he lost S$100 that day (the S$95 change and the actual fare of S$5). He called it a day and just headed home to sleep it off and forget the whole thing. Unfortunately there are some things that you just can’t forget.

Today, he still has that fake $100 bill as a reminder to never accept large bills from passengers, especially for small fares. He says the experience was a costly one, but a valuable one.

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