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Your 64 Year Old Father Gets Left Out In The Cold… Purposely!

Taxi services normally fight for you fare... NOT go out of their way to make sure you never call them again! (Getty Images)

It’s not a story about Meg Ryan’s teeth whitening last week, or David Hasselhoff’s latest face lift.  Here is the scenario.  You are forced to move hundreds of miles away from your father who’s health is failing.  And someone treats your loving father like dirt!  CAUTION:  This story may raise your blood pressure (it did mine)

He needs to attend his doctor’s visits when they are scheduled.  Obviously, you can’t take him yourself.  You request a taxi cab four days in advance.  You are told by the taxi dispatcher LONG in advance that there will be a cab outside your father’s elderly living facility at 6:00pm SHARP!  I know things happen, traffic, car problems, snow storms, alien abductions, etc.  The driver DID show up 15 minutes late.  Dad waits out in the single digit temps of Traverse City, Michigan. That is just the FIRST part of this true story.

When Dad FINALLY makes it to his doctor’s appointment, he tells the receptionist to please call the taxi service for a “return trip”,  hoping with a half hour notice, the cab company will be there ready to take him home.  The doctor’s office receptionist calls the taxi service and says “we will need that cab in 30 minutes”, the dispatcher replies, “okay, no problem”.  30 minutes pass, no taxi.  The receptionist calls a second time.  She’s told, “yea, it’s on it’s way.”  Another 30 minutes go by, no taxi.  The receptionist calls again.  She is rudely told, “I told you it’s coming!”  20 minutes later she calls  inquiring about the cab.  She is told, “it’s on it’s way, be patient!”  The receptionist is appalled to be spoken to like this from a taxi cab dispatcher over the phone.  ANOTHER 30 minutes… the taxi shows up.  Doing the math, time blown off with NO reason, explanation or apology given = OVER TWO HOURS!  Just a horrible attitude from the taxi driver to an 64 year old multiple stroke victim who was just discarded in single digit temperatures.  This is NOT the NYC Yellow Cab Co. mind you, but a small town taxi service that fights for fares with other cab companies.  That’s right, they are NOT the only service in town.

Upon hearing this from Dad, I decided to call this cab company and talked to this young punk who told me “he didn’t need to hear my little and loud complaints.”  On the contrary, I was quite proper & polite when I spoke to this punk.  He seemed to have to inform me that talking to the Operations Manager wouldn’t do me any good since it happened to be his wife.  Another young, disrespectful and rude individual who I have knowledge of, (as I do her husband).  They both worked as a team at a failed taxi company in the same city before.  Gee, I can’t imagine why a business would fail with the customer service I experienced last week.

THE LAST STRAW…

Before I terminated my conversation with the said bad cab company, I said that I wanted it known that this is unacceptable!  The Operations Manager’s husband (the dispatcher) replied, “s*** happens and there is not a damn thing he can do about it!”  I responded with “How you are speaking to me RIGHT NOW is unacceptable!”  He shouted, “tough s***!”, then hung up on me.

Through this experience, I am learning that this younger generation who gets life handed to them on a silver platter do not appreciate the hard work and dedication that has been put down before them.  The generation who ran the business well enough to make it succeed to give to them, in turn to trash it.  Pretty sad.

I then asked others around town for the most reputable taxi service.  I was given the name of one.  I called and was warmly spoken to by a very kind woman who was genuinely disgusted by the story of my experience.  She asked if her taxi service could take over our needs.  By her caring attitude, no profanity over the telephone and promise of this never happening with her company, I decided to trust her company with the transportation of my elderly father. She also made me aware that drivers DO NOT like taking fares from elderly people with “travel vouchers”, which means, the Commission On Aging sell these vouchers for a very discounted price to their elderly clients.  OH YES, the cabbys get EVERY penny they would normally get from that fare.  They just have to wait a week to actually get the “cash”, so they will intentionally blow off customers when they have knowledge that they are being paid with a voucher.  The taxi dispatcher lets the driver know how they are recieving payment.

The nice woman at the second cab company told me “unfortunately this is how it works”, and “the bottom feeder drivers do IN FACT use this practice often in their daily routine to never get a voucher call again, and this is how they weed out those calls.  It’s sad but all too often true.”

Let’s hope & pray I wasn’t just being given another line.  Needless to say, I contacted the Better Business Bureau.  Once in a while they investigate things like this.

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