I took up Taxi Cab Driving during my Hiatus from trucking. Not so much because I needed the job but more because I like to feel productive as well as not dip to deep into the nest egg that I’ve been able to build up trucking. So It was that I was working on Thursday night...aka Thanksgiving or as some would say, the night before Black Friday. I found myself quite busy, for the most part picking up retail workers on their way to the various shopping malls and retailers that were opening up early for Black Friday. My night was uneventful until I picked up one particular fellow on his way to work at an electronic appliance store that I’ll call “Shop Right Electric.” Bob, was a temporary hire he said. He was hoping to get on full time. I dropped Bob off noticing that at 8:45 on a thanksgiving night there was a line of people stretched the entire length of the block from the entrance of Shop Right Electric. This was the case every where the entire mall area was as busy as it would have beeen on a Saturday afternoon.
On a night when even most bars were closed, the entire shopping district was packed. I’d just parked at Sam's one of the few bars that was open, to wait for my next fare, when I got a call from my dispatcher.
“Two eighty two, that last guy you dropped off left his drink in your car and I told him you’d bring it back.”
“Copy” says I getting out and searching the back seat for a drink. Sure enough he’d left his Starbucks Frapuccino in the back seat. I headed back to Shop Right store with his drink. I made my way through the maze of people that jammed the parking lot and parked along the curb out front. The doors were locked as it was still five minutes to nine. I walked to the front of the line to the locked glass doors and tapped the Frappuccino on the store front trying to get the attention of one of the workers milling about to come open the door.
“Hey Mister, theres a line.” came a female voice with what I guessed was an indian accent.
“I know, I drive a taxi and I’m just trying to return my last fares ‘Frappuccino” I explained to the five foot tall female.
“I’ve been here since five this afternoon!” she exclaimed sounding out of breath like someone that was in line for a rock concert, not a retail store in the middle of the night on a Thanksgiving in a strip mall. Then she turned and shrieked “Hey, you guys go to the back of the line.”
“don’t worry about it.” came the reply from another female standing off in the darkness.
“Yeah theres a line you idiots.” this time a male voice. Then grumbling under his breath but loud enough to be heard by anyone in proximity. “bastards think they gonna cut.”
“I brough pepper spray,” another female voice.
It was now three minutes after nine and the crowd was starting to press and low like a herd of cattle.
“Look, I just need to get Bob his Frappuccino.”
“What a nice guy.” came a sneering male voice.
Just then the rattle of keys in the latch and the stress glazed face of a Shop Right Electric employee. I managed to thrust the Frappuccino into his hand. “this is Bob’s,” then found myself shoved aside by a mighty swirling maelstrom of bodies that seemed to lift the Shop Right employee up like a leaf on a tidal wave, carrying him away into the store.
I’m a large man, I’ve been to many tough places like the bering sea in Alaska, and the slums of Mexico City I’ve even worked as a bouncer at a Bad Religion concert before, but this group of people was as rude, dangerous, and hard bitten a crew as any I have met. There just isn’t anything more nasty than Black Friday shoppers on a Thursday night. Back in my cab I turned the radio on to a station that was playing christmas carols and gave a sigh of relief.
Been trucking with few exceptions since 96.