People are always blabbering about how fast-paced NYC is, and we never quite understand what they mean. If we ever wind up eating in cabs, it’s because we’re hungry for a delicious street pretzel or a hot dog, not because we couldn’t find the time to eat. Cabbies all have differing views on consumption in their cars, though, and here’s their reasoning.
Where I hailed him: Midtown East Where he hails from: Senegal Years as a cabbie: 12 Previous profession: Student
Yeah, no problem: You do what you have to do. Just have some manners and don’t litter in my car, you know? Most people don’t. I get businessmen eating sandwiches or chips in here all the time. They usually clean up after themselves. You get the occasional asshole that drops lettuce all over the seat. I see what they’re doing. Sometimes I ask if they’re going to clean it up. I don’t even care about a tip then. It’s so rude. But this is only, say, ten percent of my customers.
Where I hailed him: Lower East Side Where he hails from: India Years as a cabbie: 5 Previous profession: Health store clerk
No eating and drinking in this cab! Do you see the sign? No, I will not drive you any further if you are eating or drinking. No eating. No drinking.
Where I hailed him: East Village Where he hails from: Pakistan Years as a cabbie: 1 1/2 Previous profession: I did nothing
Actually, eating and drinking can be a very big problem because the wrapper and the glasses and the boxes will get left behind. So it can get very dirty. I’ll have to clean out my cab four or five times in a single shift. I don’t let people drink any alcohol in my cab. They try, but I tell them no. It is against the city laws.
NAPOLEON Where I hailed him: Chelsea Where he hails from: El Salvador Years as a cabbie: 7 Previous profession: Always a driver
Lots of people try to drink in my cab at night. They come in with bottles of beer, or even whiskey. It’s a bad sign. If you’re not caring if you’re bringing alcohol into the cab, then chances are you’ve been drinking already. People get sick in the back or out the window all the time. It’s the worst part of the job. Really disgusting, and usually I have to clean it up. If I see someone drinking in my cab at night it’s a warning sign for me. If I think they might be sick, I try to keep my eye on them.
Where I hailed him: Murray Hill Where he hails from: China Years as a cabbie: “Long time” Previous profession: Grocer
No — I hate it. It’s bad. I always have to clean up afterwards. People just leave everything back there. But what can I say, I’m just a cab driver. If I say something, they say, ‘Why are you so rude?’ and then they complain to the TLC. This country [shakes head disgustedly]. Yeah, so I just clean up after them. What else can you do?
Where I hailed him: Gramercy Where he hails from: Haiti Years as a cabbie: 8 Previous profession: Night watchman
It is all a matter of respect. If they are clean and respect that it is your cab where you are having to sit for the next ten hours, then it is fine. A lot of people don’t do that, though, you know, so then you have problems. They leave the trash in your cab and you have to clean it up. Most people are good though. You have to let them bring the food — otherwise you’re just fighting with them all the time. You just get tired of it.