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.

Conversations with a Singapore Taxi Driver: Part 1

Having stayed in Singapore for over 4 years, I’ve had the pleasure (and sometimes privilege) of sharing my cab rides around the island with some truly unique Cab drivers. The list of said interesting folks grew to the point that I felt compelled to put pen to paper and write about these fellow humans in a blog post. SO here goes my very first post in what will hopefully be a lenghty and colorful series of posts –
The Couple Detester
My earliest recollection of an interesting cabbie is probably from my first year here of a taxi driver who spoke about a lover’s spat that took place in the back seat of his vehicle. The couple in question apparently were already quarreling when they got into his cab.
Things only escalated once they were en route to their destination with tempers flaring further and the woman getting a tad louder than her male companion.
Things took a strange turn when the beleaguered male decided to end the spat prematurely by opening his side of passenger door and rolling out of the (pretty fast) moving cab. At this point the woman shrieked and our narrator, the cabbie, brought the vehicle to a sudden halt. Fortunately injuries to the man weren’t severe.
However the poor cabbie had to cease all work for most of the day as he was required to be available for statements to both the hospital authorities as well as the police. His lament was obviously over the lost fares as well as the added trouble of having to be part of this rather outrageous situation which didn’t concern him to begin with!
Till today, our friend is overly cautious when picking up passengers who are a couple!