Benito Vacio

A fair old fare

It's always nice to get a free taxi ride

One time my wife stayed with her sister 30 kilometers away from where we lived. Since I was on vacation, she invited me to go with her to meet my sister-in-law's associates at the airport because after that they would go to the Mall of Asia (MOA), the 2nd largest mall in Asia located at the reclaimed area in Pasay City, Philippines for shopping.

I hadn't been to that mall for a year so I agreed. She instructed me to be at the airport at 7:00 o'clock at Terminal 2 Airport where Philippine Air Lines planes land. I rushed to the airport as early as 5:00 o'clock to avoid the traffic but I forgot my cell phone. I was at the airport in less than an hour. It was already 6:45 in the morning but there was no trace of my wife and sister-in-law.

I thought I was at the wrong airport because I overheard our neighbors conversing with one another the previous day that my wife's brother in-law would arrive that day too. Perhaps my wife and sister-in-law were at Terminal 3, the airport where international flights land.

I hailed a yellow taxi and the driver let me in his cab but told me, he would drop me a few meters ahead because there was a queue. When I reached the taxi stop I got out and 15 passengers were waiting. A dispatcher asked me where I was going. I told him to Terminal 2 but he recommended a free shuttle. Anyway, I opted for a cab because I was in a hurry.

After some minutes, my taxi came. I sat next to the driver and directed him to Terminal 3. While I was preoccupied with a lot of thoughts, the driver told me he would not flag the meter down for it was so close. I didn't answer him.

When I reached Terminal 3, I asked how much the fare was. He answered it's up to me (perhaps expecting a bigger tip) but I asked again, how much would he really charge me. I didn't like to give him the idea that I was an overseas foreign worker (OFW) for if he did, he would charge me more.

He then said 150 (3.50 $). I got my wallet and handed him a 500 peso bill (about 11.50$). He was apologetic saying he had only 150 with him and he had got no change. I told him to get the bill changed from fellow drivers or somewhere else, but right away he said those people didn't have change either, even if he had not gotten out of his taxi to ask. (another strategy of theirs to get a bigger charge because he knew I was in a hurry and he might have thought I would give him the entire amount).

So I told him he should provide change every time. He said, "There was really none." I told him "I will complain. So this is your name."(Pointing to his ID). I got a pen and paper while I was in the act of writing his name. He said, "Never mind. You just pay me in another instance when we meet each other." He was afraid because he didn't like to be reported of not flagging- down his meter. I got out and there I got a free taxi ride.

I entered the airport and looked for my wife and sister-in-law for quite a time. Unable to find them I decided to go back to Terminal 2. But before that, I had my money changed in a money changer, got out and looked for the driver. I wanted to spare him half of my money as a token for taking me to the terminal but he was no longer there.

I got another taxi. This time he flagged-down his meter. When I reached Terminal 2, the meter recorded 150 pesos. So the first driver was after all honest in charging me 150. His only faults were he did not use his meter and did not give me the right change.

I was sorry for the driver for he did not flag-down his meter and did not provide loose change or smaller bills for passengers who were in a hurry. I just hope that someday, I ride his taxi again and that time I will double my fare.


Another lesson...never dare to meet up with anyone with incomplete details unless you have your cellphone with you...senior moments?

By SC, Bulacan (10th June 2015)

lesson learned for everyone. Always follow the rules even the smallest and the simplest one.

By Bing, BKK (9th June 2015)

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