One of the perks of living in a big city is the hustle and bustle that comes with an abundance of exciting places to see and experience. If you are lucky, you may experience warm and receptive indigenes of that big city. If you are extra lucky, your big city is made of ultra modern steel, which literally paints the skyline with skyscrapers of architectural designs from the most imaginative minds. Now, if you are super extra lucky, your big city has a heavy touch of surreal nature – mountains, beaches and parks. I am that super extra lucky-small girl-living-in-a-big-city.
What you aren’t told about living in a big city is that with a higher population of people, there are just as many factors to make you lose your cool. Factors like traffic in rush hour, transit crowding, terrible drivers ever ready to flip you a bird, red tapism in the government offices…whew! The list goes on and on. A few years ago, I made the choice to shake off the names and adjectives that had become my identity. Names like ‘Margaret Thatcher’, ‘Miss Prim-n-Proper’, ‘Iron Lady’, ‘Disciplinarian’.
Today tested that unwavering choice I made a few years ago. I dropped off my car for some maintenance and ordered a taxi, over the phone, to get to an urgent appointment that I had. It’s raining heavily outside, per usual, and walking home was out of the question. Thirty minutes, no taxi. My neck’s a little longer from constantly stretching to see if I can see the taxi approaching. I call back the taxi company.
“Hello, XXXX taxi“, the tele agent sluggishly mutters.
“I ordered for a taxi half an hour ago. Is it on its way? I am running late and it’s not rush hour. Is there a delay I should know about?“, I say as politely as a Christian dove (winks).
“You are calling from XXXX auto centre?“, another sluggish sentence seeps through from the agent’s lips.
“Yes“, I say through gritted teeth.
“I’ll call the driver” the tele agent mutters and hangs up abruptly. My blood’s boiling but new me bites my tongue. Old me wanted nothing more than to call back and demand a better response to a would-be paying customer.
I wait another 20 minutes, no taxi in sight. I am fidgeting restlessly and angrily in my seat realizing how stranded I am. Ubers are not yet authorized in my big city, so I am left to the mercy of these incompetent taxi companies. I dial back.
“Hello, XXXX taxi”, a new and hearty voice says.
“I ordered for a taxi an hour ago. Is it coming?“, I ask as patiently as I can.
“No taxis have been sent out that way, ma’am“, he says nonchalantly but still heartily. I couldn’t believe my ears. An hour of waiting and no taxis had been sent my way. My teeth was beginning to loosen its grip on my tongue but I choose to keep my cool and I ask if the request can be cancelled.
“Yup“, he says and hangs up.
Yup? Yup?? Really? No apology. No explanation. No alternatives provided. Nothing. I get nothing. I have never bitten my tongue as hard as I bit it in that moment. The unprofessionalism, lack of empathy from the agent and nonchalance of the entire taxi company is mind boggling. Oh, if only one could peep into my mind at that time. Grenades were going off, gunfire was all around and the floor of my mind was filled with mines. I was livid but I took it. I swallowed the rudeness. Instead, I did what I believe to be the right thing in this situation. I left a review that befits such a company 🙂
My tongue may be half bitten but my fingers are just fine.