I've been a regular (meaning every single working day) cab customer since March 2007. Even with the thousands of cabs in Metro Manila, I know that the odds of getting the occasional a**hole driver is inevitable.
I went on an earlier shift yesterday to accommodate a meeting scheduled very early in the morning. This means that I can leave the office earlier, and that the public transport I use to go home is not yet available (they usually start their routes by around 6PM). I took a cab.
The ride was quiet and peaceful until we reached the flyover approaching Ateneo where traffic was almost at a stand still. I heard the driver grumbling but as long as he doesn't say anything, I'm fine. It was a slow but steady crawl the rest of the way and I was surprised when the cab took the lane that was supposed to take the u-turn near Rustan's. I told the cab I didn't ask him to take the u-turn. The cab driver looked irritated.
DRIVER: Akala ko sabi mo Katipunan? (I thought you said Katipunan?)
(wow... I never realized Katipunan for him ends with Ateneo Gate 3!)
ME: Oo nga po pero di ba hanggang dun pa sa dulo yung Katipunan? Sinabi ko bang mag-u-turn ka? Dapat diretso ka lang until sabihan kita kung san liliko. (Yes but doesn't Katipunan stretch out until over there. Did I ask you to take the u-turn? You were supposed to go straight until I tell you where to turn.)
DRIVER: Hindi ka naman nagsasabi (You weren't saying anything).
(Huh? What the hell was I supposed to say at that area? The turn he was supposed to take wasn't for another 3 blocks. Am I expected to say "go straight" every 5 seconds or something???)
At that point, he tried getting out of the lane but it was too late since we were too close to the u-turn. An MMDA officer hailed him and that's when things started to get worse.
MMDA OFFICER: Sir, lisensya po. (Sir, your license please.)
And guess what? The driver tried to get out of it by blaming me!!! He opened his window and tried to reason with the officer.
DRIVER: Boss, pasensya na po. Ito po kasing pasahero ko e, ang gulo kausap! (Officer, I'm really sorry. It's my passenger's fault, I couldn't understand her.)
Suffice to say, I was surprised.
ME: What??? Wala akong sinasabi sa yo na mag-u-turn ka. Nagulat na lang ako bigla kong napansin na liliko na pala tayo. (I never asked you to turn her. I was even surprised when I noticed you taking the turn).
He should have quit at that point but then he turned to face me and started shouting at me!
DRIVER: Wala kang sinasabi! Ang gulo mo kasi kausap. Hindi mo naman sinabing hindi tayo liliko dito! (You didn't say anything! You are difficult to understand. You should have said we weren't supposed to turn here!)
What the... ? How the hell am I supposed to anticipate that he was going to take the turn when I never gave him instructions to take the turn in the first place? At this point, the MMDA Officer interrupted us.
MMDA OFFICER: Sir, lisensya po. Kayo po ang nagmamaneho, hindi si ma'am. (Sir, may I see you license please? You were the one driving and not your passenger).
No way was I going to stay in the cab and let that driver take me home and find out where I live but we were in the middle of the u-turn so I asked the MMDA Officer if I could get off there. He motioned for the cab to move to the side of the road and told me I could get off then.
I still paid the driver... with 10% tip. Stupid me! I already had the money in my hand before the incident happened so I just gave the driver the money before storming off. I forgot about the tip. And grateful cad that he was... he was still shouting at me as I was getting off. A**HOLE!
I walked the rest of the way home.
(It wasn't that far, about 3-4 blocks I think. Before I got pregnant I never thought twice about walking from Rustan's to my house but things are different lately when every small exertion of effort from me results to bleeding and hospitalization. But walked I did (a bumpy trike ride was not a better alternative) and I made it home without incident. Or so I thought at the time.)