Comedian and writer Sam Dingman tells the story of his Best Fare Ever from his days (and nights) as a taxi driver in NYC:
As we sped along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, I glanced into the rear-view at the pair, trying to determine what dark impulse had led them to voluntarily brave the unknown wilds of Avenue Z. I could see that they were clutching one another’s hands tightly, and as the woman dialed and then placed her cell phone against her ear, her husband explained to me that they would like me to wait for them at their destination, and then bring them back to the Gansevoort Hotel. I was relieved to hear this: I would not be left alone to do battle with the ghost pirates and their ilk, it turned out. Also, it meant that this was sure to be the largest fare I’d yet received. I was happy to wait outside, I told the husband, but I would have to keep the meter running while they were inside. That was fine, he assured me — they just wanted to make sure they had a guaranteed means of getting back to the hotel. They were, he said, picking up a very important package.
All at once, my suspicions shifted radically into more cynical terrain: were these well-heeled yuppies just garden-variety cokeheads? I instantly began to loathe them —hamstrung by their pathetic addiction but so fearful of those that enabled them that they could only bring themselves to engage with the reality of their dependence from the safety of a taxi. And what was I supposed to do in the event that the deal went sour? Drive them to safety, leaving the scrappy denizens of Avenue Z deprived of the only income society had made feasible for them? Oh no, I resolved. I would not be a party to this shameful instance of class privilege — except insofar as it enabled me to collect a sizable fair and pay my goddamn rent.
Read the full story here.