IT’S nice to be nice. And it’s only right you pay for something you buy, correct?

It’s impossible for any taxi driver to enjoy 100 per cent success rate with bookings, there will always be no-shows and double bookings and even honest mistakes – you learn to see the tell-tale signs.

So, in the main, you can dismiss the odd one as par for the course, one of those things etc.

You move on, smile again and focus on the next fare.

However, now and again you’ll come face to face with a situation which tests your patience that little too much. Usually, it’s an attitude thing and comes down to a lack of respect for the service we provide and how precious the commodity of time is to us.

This was apparent recently when a colleague of mine was one of four taxis booked to help take a group of footballers from a city centre bar to another venue in the city.

The booking was made by a barman on behalf of the players and the first two taxis were there quickly, filled up and left. Half the job done.

Taxis three and four arrived seconds later but, alas, after a short wait there was nothing happening.

After a few minutes the driver of taxi number three entered the premises and asked for an update.

The barman, without a care in the world, informed him the rest of the group had found another way to the venue (piling into a couple of cars, apparently) and that the two other taxis would no longer be needed. We wouldn’t even have known had my colleague not gone in to inquire.

“But …” started my young colleague … however before he could finish his sentence, the barman said: “Listen, just put it down to experience.”

The disappointed taxi driver number three came outside and relayed the tale of woe to an increasingly miffed taxi driver number four. Who promptly made his way in to the bar.

Another few minutes elapsed.

Then taxi driver number four emerged from the bar with a huge smile on his face.

Taxi driver number three, fearing his colleague had dished out some old school retribution, inquired as to what had happened.

“Quite simple, really,” he said.

“I went in, walked up to the bar and ordered two pints and two half pints of lager.”


“Then I went to the toilet.”


“When I came back out, I walked back along to the bar and the barman said ‘that’ll be £11.50 please’.”

What happened next?

“At that point I quite simply told him I didn’t want the drinks anymore.”

And what did he say?

“He didn’t have a chance to say anything. I simply turned back to him and said – ‘listen, just put it down to experience’ – and walked away.”

Taxi driver number three and taxi driver number four both smiled and left to go to their next job and make up for lost time and money.

Lessons learned by all concerned.