I recently watched an older movie called The Pelican Brief! Some of you may remember it, it starred Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. It's a pretty good movie, I actually had forgotten most of it so it was like watching it all over for the first time. There's a scene in the movie where Denzel Washington is following a potential whistle blower and attempts to hail down a cab, the same way the man that he was following previously had done. Reluctantly, the cab driver slowed down to pick Denzel Washington up, but pulled away before he was able to get in. As a Black Man, I speculate his ethnicity was the reason he had an issue getting a cab. For years cab drivers would not pick up Black Men, nor would they go into predominantly Black neighborhoods. Ride share services such as Uber and Lyft have become the answer for people living in the inner city, along with downtown areas, and suburbs. The solution for patrons has become a serious situation for cabdrivers, taking away a great portion of their business due to the previous mentioned service, and competitive rates offered by both ride share companies. Adding to the demise of the taxi industry has been the Covid 19 Pandemic, which has basically stifled many of the attractions that cab drivers rely on for revenue. Recently, I overheard a cab driver saying he had been sleeping in his cab at the airport so that he would be able to take home some money at the end of his shift.
The indifference comes in here, as I said for years cab drivers would not go near certain areas of the city, no matter how we dressed, or how much we may have been in need of their service. Beyond not going in our direction, my grandmother would be overcharged when we'd travel through downtown's Magnificent Mile, along with receiving unfriendly attitudes and bad service. As a city bus driver, I'd personally witness Cab drivers cutting us off, parking in our bus stops, jamming routes and backing traffic up while they loaded or unloaded passengers. But still in all, I have compassion for them and their families. This Pandemic has put many businesses in jeopardy, and even more employees. As a human I can never enjoy anyone's suffering. I pray for everyone struggling to survive and once again thrive in their industries, but I also hope this time of suffering will bring some measure of humility to us all, especially the taxi industry.