Home > Uncategorized > In Praise of Cabbies

In Praise of Cabbies

October 26, 2015

My son’s tibia (shin) bone was broken last Thursday, after school, in a totally random soccer accident (shin against shin). That has resulted in four excruciating days of pain for him, though thankfully each less bad than the last. Even after your leg is in a cast, any kind of micro-movement that vibrates a broken tibia even in the slightest gives you pain. So getting into or out of bed, going to the bathroom, or god forbid getting into a cab, is very slow and often very traumatic.

He’s had to get into and out of 4 cabs since it happened. After the first, we figured out that carefully pulling him backwards, across the seat, while someone else hold his leg as still as possible, is the best approach. It hurts, of course, but not as badly as other systems.

Three out of these four times that we did this, the cabbies were infinitely patient and kind. They had no problem waiting, for as long as it would take, and they even offered to help. I was so grateful, because obviously it’s not good money to be waiting around for a crying 7-year-old to calm down and move one more inch.

But for one trip, to get the permanent cast put on at Mount Sinai, I had to miss the cab trip in order to be downtown for my Slate podcast, and my husband went without me. The cabbie volunteered to help, and as Johan put it, he was “infinitely strong and infinitely patient” and somehow managed to port my son backwards across the back seat in a perfect, smooth motion, that made him think he was levitating. It was the least painful of all the journeys.

Can I just take a moment now, and mention how grateful I am to all of these guys? These four cab drivers were all extremely kind and sympathetic men, any of whom would have immediately done whatever they could to help my son. And here’s the thing, I don’t even think I was particularly lucky; I think that’s actually pretty normal for cabbies. They are some really great people, willing and able to help out strangers all the time. That’s their job. And in a big, crowded city that might seem anonymous and pitiless, it’s a super comforting feeling to know they are there.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 26, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Such an uplifting post to read on a Monday (ughh) morning… Can’t be reminded enough of humanity’s good sides!


  2. Tara
    October 26, 2015 at 8:13 am

    We just had a whirlwind 18 hours in NYC, and took a couple cabs. My 5 year old is completely inexperienced with the idea of jumping in and out of a cab. The cabbies were so patient about it. It made me much less stressed. So I have a lot of gratitude for them too.

    And so sorry about your son, sounds miserable.


  3. Qamar Qamar
    October 26, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I love New York cab drivers. They are part of what makes the city livable and a fantastic place to be. You are right, you weren’t particularly lucky — most of the cab drivers in the city are as you described — and I have gotten to know a few of them over the years, some personally.

    I broke my tibia also at age 11. Please let your son know that although initially very painful, the pain lessens and then ceases altogether, and fairly soon. Mine was shattered into hundreds of pieces (freak accident) and I have never had a problem with it once it healed.


  4. October 26, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I believe there are two distinct eras in NYC cabby behavior. BU (Before Uber) and AU (After Uber). In AU the preponderance of cabbies behave as you describe. Many of them are very helpful with getting my disabled wife into and out of their cabs. Occasionally we hit some rotten apples. The other day, 2 cabbies seeing my wife sitting in a wheelchair (used for waiting for a cab) passed us by signaling that the cab behind them should pick us up. I also tried to use the Arro app (taxi drivers failed attempt to respond to Uber invasion) to hail a cab on E 38 St. Big mistake. No show cab driver. Charged my credit card, though. App went into a bad state showing he (falsely) picked us up and there was no way to access app controls. Had to delete and reinstall app. No phone support. Fortunately I managed to hail a cab without the app, and that, as you wrote, was a good experience.


  5. October 26, 2015 at 10:47 am

    And sorry your boy had to go through this.


  6. Stuart Gittleman
    October 26, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    How dare you disagree with the Ubermensch! Sad for your son, who I met, but glad it worked out well.


  7. Dana
    October 28, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    A really lovely post indeed, and it rings very true to me as well, albeit in a different part of the world.


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