Last night, I got into a cab going home from work. I wasn't feeling particularly well and I had to come in early the next day so I decided to spend a bit for a relaxed, one-shot trip back to The Sanctum. Within the first minute inside the cab, the driver spoke to me three times, so I resigned myself to giving up on having a restful drive and instead having a conversational journey. Well, it turned out to be a quite interesting talk as the driver was pretty articulate.
In fact, he was apparently a former salesman before he became a cabbie (he also quoted the interesting mantra of the salesmen- "Salesmanship begins when the customer says no."), and he apparently uses the communication skills he got from his former profession as a cabbie. Particularly, he finds himself often educating passengers on how some cab drivers cheat through tampered meters (which also launched a long talk about the infamous Wallis taxi company). Apparently, these horn-swaggled devices have special switches attached which the cabbie triggers (to add pesos to the price) by pressing buttons either on the radio (seen this) or near the gas or brake pedals (hmm). He himself never used the things, though he confessed to driving cabs with the cheating devices installed.
He also told me the reason why I find it sometimes hard to get a taxi to drive me all the way to Makati to work from Quezon City. It all has something to do with taxi boundaries, gas and the distance... well, I didn't really bother to understand aside from the apparent fact that taxis often don't earn from long journeys if they have to drive back and use up gasoline in the process. Well, tough... I can't, as a passenger, change the places I have to go, so we all have our crosses to bear. We also talked about how some taxis try to get passengers to ride by contract, and how he usually just get by with asking for additional fare if the passenger is inclined to do so (if they refuse, no problem).
Anyway, in the end, I got off at home, paid the guy extra for the good service and the chat (and since I was inclined to- maybe the guy has Jedi powers?), and that was it for another one of those interesting taxi talks. If only there were more drivers like that guy. Like... a million more. Maybe this country would be getting somewhere.