I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last week. I have been meaning to blog about this, but I have not been able to get around to it until tonight.
First, let me give you some background: My friend happens to be an engineer with a large consulting firm here in Philly, and she recently got an assignment to work with Honeywell down in Baltimore. Last week, after completing a job, she was waiting outside of her hotel with two white male colleagues for a cab to take her to the train station. I think you know what happens next, but I will tell you anyway. Both of her male companions hailed cabs and went on their way. My friend; not so lucky. She insisted that empty cab after empty cab kept passing her by as she waived her hands. When an elderly white lady came outside and actually hailed a cab before her, she actually went up to that particular cab driver and asked him what the problem was. The man, she said, drove off like he had seen a ghost.
Frustrated and pissed off, she went back into the hotel to complain about the cab situation. She said the young African American at the front desk knew immediately what was going on. She had a concierge hail a cab for her, and she was finally on her way, barely making it to her train on time.
But this is where the story gets interesting. With all due respect to Danny Glover, according to my friend; every one of the cabs was being driven by a black man. And not just any black man, according to her, they all seemed to be Africans or foreigners. -not sure how she could tell that but I will take her word for it- So when she finally got into the cab she asked the cab driver what gives with the lack of love from the Cabbies. He explained to her that the Cabbies don't like picking up blacks, because they complain about the meter moving too fast too much. Besides, he said, they are bad tippers, and they sometimes take the Cabbies to dangerous areas, where many have been robbed and shot. He himself was shot once before he told her. So she is telling me this, and she confesses to me that she actually felt sorry for this particular Cabbie, even though at first she had every intention of cursing his ass out when she went in his cab.
"I mean come on field isn't that sad?" she was preaching now,"I mean our own people?" "I guess so" I told her. "I really don't know what to say about that. Hey, that's why I don't take cabs. Maybe on your next assignment you can ask your company to just rent you a car." "Naw Field, I hate driving around in strange cities, I am stuck with the Cabbies." I actually felt sorry for her. " Well I tell you what; how about letting your white colleagues hail your cab for you before they take off the next time?" "Yeah good idea Field, we have actually done that before, but it just makes me seem so helpless, like I can't even get a cab for myself".
I left it at that; I didn't have the heart to tell girlfriend that in certain situations she probably can't. And this time I can't even blame whitey.