Well, that was pretty stupid, wasn’t it?
I pulled a first-class hayseed stunt last week when I returned from my vacation in London—a move so dumb I still can’t believe it.
So this is what happened: I get off the plane at JFK after a 7-hour flight and switch on my phone to call a car service to come pick me up.
This was the same company that had taken me to the airport 9 days early so I knew I could trust them.
But the dispatcher had put this bug in my brain when I called them earlier in the week and asked for a car.
“Call us when you land,” he told me. “If the driver has to wait too long we’ll double the fare.”
Double the fare? I had run into this problem once before at JFK when a driver threatened to double my fare because I had supposedly kept him waiting too long and it took a lot of screaming on my part to turn things around.
I guess that ugly little scene was on my mind when I walked out of the terminal and was approached by this young African man. He offered to give me a ride for 50 bucks and, wanting to avoid any drama, I readily—and quite stupidly--agreed.
Yes, yes, I know, how could a native New Yorker possibly be this dumb? This was such a blatant hick reaction that I should’ve been wearing overalls and a straw hat. And I ended up getting more drama than a year’s worth of soap opera episodes.
“I’ve got to pick up some more people,” my driver said and ducked back into the terminal.
More people? This is a cab, not a Greyhound. What people are we talking about here? Convinced I’d be murdered and dumped in an empty hanger, I took a photo of the guy’s medallion and emailed it to myself so my next-of-kin could ID my killer.
It turns out this yo-yo was trolling for bodies and he had me waiting in his cab for nearly an hour before he pulled in a family of four who were quite surprised to see me in the front seat.
“Who’s that?” the father said, speaking as if I were a wax dummy.
We take off and the traffic is horrible, the driver is blasting some hideous music that’s still ringing in my head, and finally the father gets fed up and demands the driver stop dead in his tracks and leave them all on the side of the road.
“Come on,” the driver pleaded, “I’m African, you’re African…”
The logic behind this statement escaped me as well as the guy in the back seat.
“I don’t care if you’re African,” the irate passenger said, “I don’t like how you do business.”
I didn’t like it either--and I’m not even African.
We finally got to Brooklyn, I bailed and thanked God I wasn’t floating in a river.
It wasn’t until the next day that I learned my brand, new Sapphire credit card, which I had specifically gotten for my trip to England, had been hacked by some scumbag who had used the thing to buy tickets to a British amusement park on the same day I was taking in a play in London.
And I found out my bank account had been hacked again, so nearly every night this week I was on the phone with my bank shrieking at some idiot “service” worker in the Philippines about the atrocious service I was getting.
Being Catholic I reasoned that God was punishing me for my stupidity at the airport by sending hackers to swipe my credit card. This is a staggering lapse in logic, of course, as ridiculous as trusting a cab driver merely because you both come from the same continent.
I’ve learned my lesson about getting into strange cabs and now I’m taking on the hackers. I hope my bank can do something to help me and if they can’t, they can just pull over and leave me on the side of the road.