Like most of my stories, it began simply enough. The Newspaper ad read limo and taxi cab drivers needed. Since I have driven over a million miles and not killed my self or anyone else, and because I had just made a 1000 mile trip to Canada and back in 28 hours, I assumed I had the basic "drive" to get this job done.
I went down to fill out an application, and was told to report for a drug test. I filled out the papers, pissed in a cup and went on my way. Two days later I received a phone call asking me to report to fill out the necessary paperwork. Paperwork consisted of reading the Pa drivers manual and the rules and regulations of being a Taxi Cab driver. I read the material and passed a written exam, I was then told to report Monday morning at 9am for drivers training.
Since the rules stated, that one should report 20 - 30 minutes before one's shift, I arrived at 8:20. I was told my trainer wasn't in yet, to just hang out until he arrived. My trainer finally arrived at 9:20. He was clean cut and serious looking but smelled like a frat boy on Saturday morning. He was obviously still drunk and not quite into the hang-over stage. He indicated in conversation that he had been partying until about 4:00 am. He began with a lecture on Taxi - cab etiquette, how to handle drunks etc... We then did a safety check, checking the fluids, lights and such. I pointed out a questionable tire, near black transmission fluid, a missing dip stick on the power steering, a missing seat belt, missing jack accessories and several other problems. I was told that all were on the line and the mechanic would address them in the near future. After repeating everything several times, we were ready for the road. The foul odor, left over from the trainers previous night of heavy drinking, filled the entire taxi, I rolled down my window for fresh air. We ran into heavy traffic immediately and a quick stop was called for, I stepped down hard on the brakes and a combination of grinding and squealing brought us to an eventual stop. My trainer responded with "gee, those brakes don't sound too great." First stop someplace to eat, I took him to Burger King, where he wolfed down a burger. Upon leaving burger king we found that the taxi wouldn't start. By the way he responded," never turn off your taxi unless, it will be out of your sight for more than a few minutes, and never lock the doors..." He then sprawled out in the back seat and called out addresses, which I had to find. We spent the next four hours driving around the area, to make sure I had a firm grasp of the street layouts. When we returned to "base" and I signed up for 38 hours in each of the next four weeks. I was excited about the possibility of many fascinating conversations that were sure to come. I went home happy with the fact that I would be earning cash in 18 short hours.
Around 10:30 pm my telephone rang, it was the Medical Review Officer from the drug testing company. She notified me that I had tested positive for marijuana and that I was not to report to work. She also informed me that under federal law, I was not to work any safety sensitive job for 30 days. According to the Taxi cab company, since I failed the "drug test" I would be ineligible for employment with them for one year.
The message? Drunks are safer drivers than someone who smoked a joint two weeks or a year ago... It's your governments policy.
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