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Random Act of Kindness 2: The Extra Mile Taxi-Man

February 16, 2011

I was the lucky witness and partial recipient of a random act of kindness last night. I went out with a couple friends for a few sociable drinks, which quickly turned into a few more very sociable drinks, which ended up with my house-mate and I flagging down a taxi outside a club at about 3 am. We got in the taxi, agreed a price with the driver to take us to the main high street of the area we live in and headed home. However, when we arrived at the high street my friend had other ideas and now demanded to be taken right to our front door at no extra cost, which is only a 5 minute detour from the high street but is normally worth a couple of extra quid for the taxi-man. Initially he started by trying to the trick the driver into driving us closer, repeated over and over that we were “almost there” and “really close”. Unsurprisingly the driver got wise to this pretty quickly and pulled over to the side of the road.

At this point, feeling that we were being a little harsh on the driver I got out of the car and started to walk the short distance left to home. My house-mate on the hand refused to move, and instead insisted to be taken the rest of the way, even forcing the driver to call his boss, and eventually, through sheer obnoxious persistence, succeeded in forcing the driver to take us the rest of the way home.

By this point the driver was pretty fuming and, not wanting to risk our normally good relationship with the taxi companies, I told the driver to stop outside one of our neighbour’s houses, waiting outside until he had left to go into ours. By this time we had probably wasted about at least 15 minutes of his time, for which he hadn’t been paid and had had to endure being continually insulted by my house-mate. Everything seemed to have worked out for the best until, as the taxi reached the end of the road, the brakes screeched on, honked twice and turned and drove rapidly towards us.

Given my friends recent behaviour I fully expected that the driver had called up some of his mates, located a baseball bat hidden under the seat and was heading back to give us the beating we, or at least my house-mate, deserved. But to our surprise when the taxi reached us the driver rolled down the window, poked a, to be honest still very angry looking, face out of it and asked if one of us had left a key in on the back seat. And sure enough as we opened the rear door, there lying on the plastic-covered seat was my house-mate’s shiny silver front-door key.

So many thanks go to the most forgiving, reasonable and benevolent taxi-driver working the 12-6 graveyard shift I have ever come across for tolerating 15 minutes of abuse, and still having the incredible decency to go out of his way to do his offensive and unruly customer a favour by returning my house-mates key. And that makes the extra mile taxi-man my second Random Act of Kindness.

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