Monday, October 31, 2005

Racist cab driver in London...my Danny Glover moment

So, having got my stolen bag back on Friday, I was on a high. Then on Saturday I was on a busy smart London high street on a work related errand and had to get a cab in order to get to Chelsea before the office I was going to closed... Now I don't take cabs often...largely because of the cost. And also perhaps because it took me a few days after I first arrived in the UK to work out that you had to check whether the cab had its light on indicating that it was free before it would stop for you.... Anyways since then I've worked it out and I've had a few incidents where I'd hailed cabs with their lights on and then the driver had switched it off and sped off but I hadn't really thought that much of it. I had always assumed that perhaps the driver was going on his lunch break or something..... So there I am, nicely dressed on the busy London high street this chilly autumn noon, not wearing a hoodie or anything, and I look at my watch and realize that I'm going to have to get a taxi if I'm to get to Chelsea before the office closes. So in good Londoner style, I take a few steps away from the bus stop, spot a cab right at the other end of the street, raise my arm sharp and watch the cab change lanes, indicating that he's seen my waving arm. His light's on, so he's free......cooool He pulls up and as he gets closer and clocks me, he raises his hand and switches off his light. Bugger, just my luck I think to pick a cabbie on his lunch break, and so I shrug and begin to look for another cab. There doesn't seem to be another in that direction and so I swing back, and that's when I see "Mr Cabbie on his lunch break" picking up this nice young white English couple, just a few metres away from me......my jaw slams into the ground....what tha'? And then slowly it sinks in, what's just happened, it's my Danny Glover moment....remember the famous black actor who couldn't get a taxi in New York? I manage to get a cab and get to the office and do my business and thengo to lunch with some friends who've lived in London for ages. They're black, Nigerian professionals like me and so I recount the story..... and my shock. I'm amazed when they burst out laughing, and then they tell me..."Oh it's got a lot better now, in the late 80s or early 90s we couldn't get a cab for love or money - you'd have to hail several before you got one to stop" I am gobsmacked that 50 years after the late Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat,in one of the most cosmopolitan and "multicultural" cities in the world, a brother still has problems getting transport home ........ So from now on, I'll be watching, and the next time I get that, I'm taking that number down and making a formal complaint. It may not go very far, but at least I'll have made a stand....

6 comments:

Chippla Vandu said...

I prefer the way it works in Abuja and Amsterdam. One simply phones the cabbie (or the cab agency) and he comes pick you up. At least the telephone recipient can't know whether one's black, white, green or colorless. Quite a funny world we live in.

Jeremy said...

epele. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog - its got me into your blog, which I shall read from now on. I love connecting with thoughtful Jands such as yerself. But what's with the anonymity ting?

obifromsouthlondon said...

nothing strange there. I remember in Glover's case it was black cab drivers swooshing past him. This all still comes second to the white women who clutch their handbags when you so much as sniff.

losers

trae_z said...

i don't know who Danny Glover was but i like the feel of the phrase (my Danny Glover moment"). interesting blog. peace!

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