Occupational Hazards

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Wednesday 8 June 2011 6.56pm
We are all familiar with the canards and half-truths that attach themselves to certain professions.
Lawyers; slippery b***ards,
Double Glazing salesmen; persistent, annoying b***ards,
Estate Agents; lying b***ards, with a penchant for seeing log cabins as stunning, desirable residences.
I had occasion today to witness first hand how people in my job, Licenced, (or black cab), drivers, can get saddled with scorn for no good reason.
Which is not to say that we are all angels who never do wrong.
Today, around 14.00, I dropped a fare in Regent Street, just north of Piccadilly Circus.
As I pulled away from the kerb the onboard computer terminal chirped and offered me an account job from Clifford Street W1 to Cornhill EC3.
A decent job, naturally I hit the accept button and extinguished the For Hire light and began to make my way to Clifford Street.
As I drove up Regent Street the rain started to fall.
Reaching Conduit Street, where I had to turn left, a young girl raised a tentative hand.
I raised my left arm and wiggled my hand back and forth in the universal, "sorry, no go" sign, then stopped just past her at the light.
Suddenly I heard the rear door open, and looking over my shoulder I saw her getting in.
I said, "I'm sorry love, I indicated no to you, I'm on my way to another job."
"I'm sorry," she said, and got out.
Two smartly dressed men, probably on seeing her get out, and presuming that I was now available, charged over, shouting, "Marylebone station please!"
I politely told them the same as I had told the girl, to which one retorted, "You're all the f***ing same you lot!"
No doubt "us lot" are being lambasted by them somewhere now. "They are earning so much, they can afford to say no to you if they feel like it!"
Wednesday 8 June 2011 8.20pm
Kindred spirits to say the least, Tom. Are you sure we're not related?
I too have been blessed, (sorry, cursed,) with a strong sense of fair play. If that hasn't come accros in some of my postings then no one has been reading them.
I'm the first to hold my hand up when I'm guilty of something, but when wrongly accused I would fight tooth and nail to get my point accross. You're obviously still smarting from your earlier experience and I for one don't blame you.
Back in 1966, when I didn't have a clue what to do with my life,I spent eighteen months as a bus conductor on the 21's out of New Cross Garriage. One cold and rainey morning we approached the bus stop on the corner of East Street/Old kent Road, and I felt so sorry for the poor, stoical commuters standing in the pouring rain, that I ended up with eight people standing on the bottom deck. (The maximum permitted was five.) They all gave me a cheer as they got on and commented on what a lovely lad I was. When we reached our final destination, (Finsbury Square,) my older and wiser driver gave me the b********g of a lifetime. He said it had been like trying to drive a 'Chiefton' tank with square wheels and told me never to do that again. The maximum five standing rule was for good reason, and what's more it was not a London Transport rule, but Ministry of Transport regulations. The following morning, which happended to be dry and sunny, we approached the same bus stop with a virtually full bus and when I'd got the maximum five atanding I put my hand accross the entrance and said, "Sorry, no more. Full up." One of the very same people who had considered me the finest thing since sliced bread 24 hours earlier said, as we pulled away, "You miserable B*****d! I realised then that there's nothing harder than dealing with the general public.

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