The best taxi driver

London cab

This didn’t look like our taxi although it is iconic…

Yesterday, when returning from a client networking ‘night-out’ (read awkward 3 hours) we had arranged for a taxi to pick us up. Little did we know but our simple request was about to turn into something of a saga. Here is a quick run down of events:

11am: Taxi is booked for later in the evening, all we must do is phone 30 minutes before hand. Everything looks rosy.

9:30pm: Our faces have been shown enough and we are ready to return home, however we all forgot about the ‘phone 30 minutes before’ rule – we must now wait until 10pm. Continues to be a rosy outlook.

9:35pm: Turns out it’ll take more like 45 minutes for the taxi to get there, 10:15 is now our estimated time of departure

9:36-10:14pm: Blank stares and little conversation as we await the taxi whilst in the warmth of inside

10:15pm: We check on the taxi and it is still 15 minutes away – where it has gone in the meantime is anyone’s guess. We pack up our things and go to wait outside in the cold.

10:30pm: No taxi. We’re still cold.

10:31-10:45pm: Many phone calls between us and the taxi who always believes he is nearby. “I’m only a few minutes away”, “I’m coming up to you in 50 yards”. None of these promises are true and we continue to wait in the cold for the taxi whilst trying to maintain our rosy outlook.

10:50pm: We see a taxi stopping. It looks like ours. It’s not ours. Ours is still 5 minutes away.

11:10pm: The taxi finally arrives but on the other side of the street, so we must cross to reach it. Whilst we do this we cross in front of the party we left nearly an hour ago – awkward times.

So that was a quick run down of my taxi experience last night. But it does not end there because the cabbie had to have his say – he had to let us know why he was late and what went wrong, pulling out all the classic cabbie phrases.

“I know London like the back of my hand but this bit (Camden high street probably unaltered for many decades) keeps changing around.”

“It’s loads of one-way systems, it’s not at all clear where to go.”

“My Sat Nav was taking me to the wrong place. Look, I should be getting to you in 100 yards, that’s where I should be picking you up.” – this is interesting because it switches the blame on to us very quickly.

When questioned about the accuracy of his Sat Nav: “It’s not the Sat Nav; it’s the newest one; top of the range.”

To give him his credit, he was pretty poor at picking us up but he did get us home fairly swiftly. Also, once we were safely in the taxi he cranked out the slow, depressing music to remind us of how close we came to getting the train home.

You may not be thinking this is a best thing but it was all pretty funny, utterly ridiculous and illuminating of the London cabbie – something I felt necessary to experience.

Hopefully he now knows where to go for Mornington Crescent station (not a small landmark!) and he can give more wanderers a safe lift home. In fact, it may help him add to the gold bling he was rocking – who knew being a cabbie could pay so well…