As we’ve all learned by now, this city is full of people trying to pull a fast one: city councilpeople, real estate tycoons, crooked cops, corporate lawyers, PR flacks, gossip columnists, the Mayor… But through it all, you can’t forget about the little people, the ones who try to pay their cab fare with counterfeit bills.
AGRIM Where I hailed him: Union Square Where he hails from: India Years as a cabbie: 7 Previous profession: Waiter
I’ve heard stories — so far it hasn’t happened to me — at least I don’t think it has [laughs].
ANJAR Where I hailed him: Midtown East Where he hails from: India Years as a cabbie: 12 Previous profession: Parking lot attendant
Twice that’s happened to me. One time this guy gets in and asks to go all the way up to the Bronx. I take him and he hands me forty dollars and I give him his change. I didn’t notice until later that it wasn’t real money. The other time, I picked up these three women at a hotel. I took them out to Brooklyn. They gave me 20 dollars for the fare, but it was fake. I told them, this is not real money. Then they got out of the car and ran.
FELIX Where I hailed him: Murray Hill Where he hails from: Haiti Years as a cabbie: 25 Previous profession: Musician
Oh, one time. I picked up a woman and gave her a ride — it probably cost about 15 dollars. And she gives me a twenty and tells me I can keep the change. But it is not a real bill. And I tell her. But she insists that it is. I tell her it isn’t — it obviously isn’t — it looks like real money, but not exactly. But she keeps insisting that it is. So, eventually I just let her go. What can I do? Call the police, waste two hours of my time? It’s not worth it.
SAYED Where I hailed him: LES Where he hails from: Egypt Years as a cabbie: 5 Previous profession: Student
It has never happened to me, but it is definitely something that happens to drivers. Whenever I take money from someone I make sure I get a good look at it in the light before I give them back their change.
EVERTON Where I hailed him: Greenpoint Where he hails from: Caribbean Years as a cabbie: 10 Previous profession: “Oh, lots of things”
I think every driver has gotten fake money — it’s happened to me more than once. The last time it happened to me was about a year ago. I’ve caught it before and sometimes I haven’t caught it — sometimes it looks better than other times. When you don’t catch it they get a free ride and then they make money when you give them back their change.
ARHAM Where I hailed him: East Village Where he hails from: Bangladesh Years as a cabbie: 3 Previous profession: Store clerk
Oh yeah, sometimes that will happen. I don’t take hundred dollar bills anymore because of that reason. It hasn’t happened to me, but it has happened to some of my friends. Drivers talk about it with each other all the time.