Ever woke up after a night of heavy drinking and think, what did I do last night? The taxi driver remembers. You probably told them your deepest darkest secrets. Find out the funniest and craziest things that happened in this Plymouth taxi driver's "mobile confessional box".
John has been driving a taxi in the beautiful city of Plymouth for twelve years and he claims he's seen it all. He's had all sorts in the back of his cab: politicians, mafiosi, prozzies, the rich and famous, down and outs, young lovers, old lovers, tourists from every corner of the globe, lifetime Plymothians, runners, big tippers, a variety of animals, people in a rush and others with no particular place to go. He's got quite a remarkable collection of stories, so sit back and enjoy.. the meter's running!
He starts off by saying "Plymouth taxi drivers are the best in the business - well, we think so anyway."
Always available to pick you up, provide an endless supply of banter, and drop you off where you want, rarely needing Google or a Sat Nav to get you there, he says. We're also the cheapest psychologists you can find.
PG:How did you get into the taxi industry?
I've had my Plymouth taxi badge for about twelve years now. I started on the cabs - like most others I know - after being laid off from another line of work.
-What's the most common thing people say to you?
Been busy drives? is the phrase I hear about 20 times per day. And of course the weather talk.
-What was you best paying fare so far?
Edinburgh! An international music star, a Scottish lass, whose name I won't mention jumped in when her pre-arranged transport failed to show up. I made a pretty penny and had a great conversation before she fell asleep in the back.
-Tell us some funny and strange things that happened in your cab.
I've seen hook ups, break ups, one passenger had a heart attack on the way to Derriford, another's water broke on the same route, I've talked a person suffering from cancer out of suicide, I've tracked down missing children and pets but most of my shifts consist or entertaining drunk people on their way to the pub.
Many times passengers get horny on their way home from the pub or club, but one of the couples that really stunned me casually blurted out "You don’t mind if we have sex in here, do you mate?". Ummm, awkward!
I've once had a fare from (the former) Oceana (now Pryzm) to North Hill. I had to stop 7 times on that short trip for the young girl to be sick. Luckily she didn't get any of it in the car. I was actually impressed by the amount she was able to chuck out!
One time I had a fairly famous book writer in my taxi, and I recognised him. After he told me where to go I told him "I just read your latest book!". He jumped forward with excitement saying "Really? Did you like it?", to which I replied "Nah, it was a load of rubbish!". I had a hard time explaining that I was only joking.
Another eventful journey was from the station to the Travelodge at the bottom of town. The passenger was a very short man, in fact a dwarf. A young kid just bolted across the road while we were driving down Western Approach and I had to brake suddenly and sharply. I looked back at my passenger to apologise and make sure he was ok and there was no sign of him! I had to pull over as I could hear he was in distress but couldn't see what's going on. It turned out he was stuck.. UNDER one of the seats.
One time I was driving this very attractive young girl to the Treasury. She told me she was very excited because she was going to meet a Tinder match for the first time, like the man of her dreams. An hour later she's back in the cab looking upset, apparently he had stood her up!
-What do you do when punters don't have the money for the fare?
Oh some of them offer "alternative payment methods, if you know what I mean (winks).
Beside the usual "payment in nature", I've been offered a leg of lamb, fags and vodka bottles, shoes and even pieces of furniture.
-How do you deal with rude or very drunk passengers?
I just agree with anything they say, that's what I do. Or kick them out, either one will work.
-What's the best thing about this job?
I get to see all sorts of people and the nice ones make it all worth while.
I also got to know Plymouth so well and learn so much I didn't know.
There's a little bit more freedom and flexibility as well that you don't get with regular jobs.
-What's the worst thing about it?
People being sick in the cab. And smelly passengers. Oh, and the fact that I don't get paid vacations or overtime.
And punters who say "I'll direct you", shortly followed by "You've gone past it"...
Thanks for your time and drive safe!
We've previously written about an attack on SP, a Plymouth taxi driver that had to fight off a drunk passenger. You can read that article HERE. You could also read THIS POST about driverless taxis in Plymouth.