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Things to note when taxiing a blind dude, in list format.

I do a fair bit of cabbing from here to there, as does any person who doesn’t quite know how to shuffle the bus system from A to Z. Since I’m hardly the first to do it, and hardly the first blind fool at that, I thought it might be useful to toss together a little reference something that maybe some enterprising cab dude can read while he should be paying attention to the road. I’m even croudsourcing this one, so if someone somewhere thinks a thinggy or three can be added, it will probably be added. And because I know some fool somewhere will read this while driving, and because I’m all for minimising distractions while driving, have it in list format. Also because lists are lazy, and lazy is win, therefore lists are win. So. Without further BS, the taxi guy’s reference guide–what not to do, blind guy edition.

  • Let’s clear one thing up right off the bat. Blind. Kay? Means unable to see. Cannot eyeball. You wave randomly in my general direction, a lot of people are gonna wonder what the hell kinda meth you’re on. And I’m going to ignore your face. Mostly because I can’t see your face–again, blind. Follow so far?
  • Related to number 1, but also critical: Honking. Yeah, just don’t. Especially if you’re in a parking lot with at least half a dozen other vehicles. That happens fairly often in this building–and let’s be honest. Not every car that pulls in here’s a cab. Not every car that pulls in here and honks is a cab. I’m not going to assume you’re a cab if all you’re doing is honking. Especially if I’ve told you before to knock that noise right the hell off.
  • this one’s simple. If you make with the grabby, I get to make with the stabby. I’m capable of navigating from door to vehicle, provided I 1: am familiar with the area from which you’re picking me up and 2: it’s relatively straightforward-ish to locate your vehicle–for instance, if we’re outside this building and your vehicle’s the only one in front of the door running. If I’ve been to an area before, same goes from vehicle to door–provided you haven’t found somewhere completely ass backwards to park us. That I’ve started to move does not mean grab me by the shoulder, the arm, the hand, the wrist, the cane, or any other extremety or implement secured to or belonging to my person. Unless, of course, you don’t mind a cane in the eye. I’m quite obliging when asked.
  • This one might be vaguely obvious, but it still gets missed a lot. Pay the fuck attention, dude. Seriously. You’re asking a blind guy how to get from A, to B, to C. Last I checked, that was kind of what I was paying you for. Yes, okay, I do know my way around at least most of this end of the city. But I don’t know precisely where we are when you ask me, “So it’s just up here and to the right, yeah?”. Know your shit, or use your GPS if you absolutely must–even if those things have a nasty little habbit of occasionally being both dead wrong and all in favour of me paying more. Or be prepared to answer at least 3 questions having to do with exactly where the fuck “just up here and to the right” is. Failure to do either of those gets you this point in lecture format from the back seat. I’ve done it.
  • The answer to the question, “where’s the door?” is not, “Just go straight.”. That particularly is the exact *wrong* answer when one is still sitting in the car, having not yet gotten out because he’s waiting on your slow ass debit machine to get around to approving his transaction. Providing that answer will result in at a minimum an angry stare, and at a maximum a very detailed explanation as to why exactly that is perhaps the most wrong answer you can provide, next to no answer at all. Hint: you just read it.
  • This should be common sense in some places, and simply not breaking the law in others, but it takes on a bit more importance when driving a blind guy. Get the everloving hell off the phone, for the love of pepperoni. Not only does yacking on the phone prove you’re not really paying attention to where the hell you’re going, or what the hell the passenger(s) is/are saying to you, but especially in the context of blind passenger, you will more than likely miss something vaguely important–like, for instance, the afore mentioned request for the location of the door. If you’d put down the phone for at least the duration of the ride, you’d have an increased chance of actually hearing your passenger–be they blind or otherwise–tell you that they’ll be paying via your slow ass debit machine. At which point, that transaction can be slightly less slow as crap, because you’ll–preferably–have taken a couple minutes while finding somewhere to park to get the machine ready to actually process the transaction.
    • Exceptions can be made for things like, for instance, asking for directions. But pull the hell over if you’re gonna. That’s not so much because blind dude. That’s because, well, legal. At least if you’re an Ontario cab driver. I have my own issues with distracted driving laws, but they’re still there. And if you’re gonna get yourself slapped for not following them, I’d prefer to not be in the cab when it happens.
  • Blind guy is not new guy, okay? Odds are, even though I’m cabbing it there, I have a fairly decent idea where there is. I just haven’t yet figured out exactly how to translate directions into useable by blind person on foot information. So when trying to get from A to B, especially if you’ve already started the everloving metre (that’s another rant for another day), let’s not waste us some time by sitting in the driveway arguing about how to get from here to there. Especially if you’re going to throw it in your GPS and have it tell you exactly the same route I just freaking told you. That’s an incredibly quick shortcut to a free trip if I’m feeling particularly challenging that day. And since neither of us knows when that’s going to be, I’d suggest maybe not poking that switch.
  • speaking of slow ass debit machines, they may be incredibly slow at times, but for the love of everything sane, get you one. Believe me, they’re not just for blind folk anymore. This couldn’t have been made more clear when I lived in small town Ontario. The guys over at the Vomit Comet ran into it too, and they’re in bloody Kitchener for crying out loud. If you’re new, or hell, ya just don’t show up in town all that often, you’re not going to know where $place is, nevermind how far away it is from where you’ve been scooped. Leaving aside the fact that it’s bloody 2013 and no one caries cash in bloody 2013, guessing at how far you need to go at the going rate for that city just to reach a rough estimate of how much pocket change you should be carrying with you can be and has been an exercise in migraine. Guys. Even the pizza delivery guy has those wireless debit thinggies, kay? They can’t be too expensive. And with some of the rates municipalities let yall charge us, they can’t be entirely all that unafordable. Get you one. Or two–because hey, sharing is caring. Forget making things convenient for us. You wanna get paid, yes? This guarantees you do. Well, or at least guarantees that if you’re not up and being a tool about the rest of the trip, we’ll be that much more likely to get you paid. make sense?
  • further to points re: pay the fuck attention: your GPS is yelling at you. Meanwhile, you’re panicking because you haven’t the slightest idea where you’re going. Pro tip: even if you haven’t the slightest, your GPS has at least that much. Stop, look, listen. Or at the very least, shut up so I can–and maybe then *I* can figure out where the hell you’re going.
  • I hear about this way too often to be healthy. You’re called to pick up person and guidedog. That does not mean offer to pick up person, then bitch about picking up guidedog. This is one of those situations wherein the law trumps everything except fatal alergies–including your freedom of religion. Don’t approve? Behind the wheel of a cab is not for you. Don’t approve and voice said disapproval loudly? In front of a cab works just fine.
  • that thing I’m holding? Yeah, that thing. It’s a cane. It’s not a magical locator beam. It won’t randomly lift off and shoom its way to your vehicle the second you hit the breaks with me holding the other end. fortunately, if you’re me, as these things aren’t very good independent navigators. Since this thing isn’t programmed to find you, you’re just gonna have to hop your happy ass outa the vehicle and come find me. I’m sorry. But hey, if you do it right, you’ll get paid. Call it corporate motivation. Hey–it worked when I had a thing with a paycheck.
  • Here’s a thing for the thought mines. There are two people standing on the front steps of a house, in front of which you’ve just parked your happy ass. Both are holding those things that are not locator beams. Both are clearly visible, as evidenced by the fact you’re parked pretty much in throwing range of the front door. It’s a very short walk to the front door. It’s also in earshot. Staying in your vehicle and calling the house to let us know you’re here, therefore, is a teeny tiny bit counterproductive. It’s also highly likely to get you mocked in a “how not to taxi a blind guy” entry. Don’t. Just don’t. Because no one will answer, and you’ll be waiting for us, and we’ll be waiting for you, and only one of us will come out looking like an idiot. Also it’s just plain uncool.

There will probably be more added as they’re thought of, or sent to me. In fact I’m pretty sure there will be. But in the meantime, if you know a cab driver who’d find this somewhat useful, by all means slap the link in several dozen places with a strong suggestion to read it. In fact I’m thinking of printing this off for a couple drivers we get around here regularly. In the meantime, happy cabbing. And remember, just because I can’t see doesn’t mean I can’t slap you for being an idiot. Let’s not make me prove it.

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4 responses to “Things to note when taxiing a blind dude, in list format.”

  1. Here’s one for cabbies who pick up blindies from out of town. Do not drive around like a numbnut saying “I no know where that is” while your GPS yells something. Ripping off the blind guy from out of town ensures that I pick another cab company for my return trip to the terminal. We’re not stupid. We know it doesn’t cost $22 to get from point A to that point B. If we don’t know, our happy hosts I’m sure will inform us.

    And I’ve never run into this personally…but don’t play dumb with the avoiding the guide dog trick. Unless having a dog in your car will cause you to cease to breathe, you can have a dog in your car. It’s kinda the law. Pick up person and dog.

    • Oh, that must be absolute truckloads of fun. And I mean that in the sincerest way possible.

      Also: haven’t had it happen personally for kind of obvious reasons (lack of dog equals lack of problem), but I hear about it every second week. It’s mildly amusing. Where amusing is equal to eye-stabbingly irritating.

  2. Another one for the list.
    If you’re picking up a blind person, for the love of expensive chocolate, USE YOUR EYEBALLS. If we tell you we’re standing out by the $place, you should probably look for us oh… somewhere in that general area. Looking for us does not mean honking, as was previously mentioned. If you parked somewhere in Who the Christ Knows Where, you might actually have to get out of your vehicle, especially if it’s superbusy where you’re picking up.

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