Tag Archive | Weather

The Time I Snapped On A Strange Teenager

Seriously, I did this. I snapped on a teen on the TTC last week. In front of his friends on a very crowded bus. Loudly. I embarassed him. Some people might be feeling bad for him but I don’t and if I could do it over I wouldn’t change a thing.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had started apart time nanny job and this situation happened on a day I was with Minnie. Since she is still being breast fed and hasn’t figured out how easy and convient a bottle is I make one trip a day with both her and Little Miss to her mothers office for a feed. It’s not that far and in nice weather we’ll walk or we sometimes take the TTC. It depends on me and how I feel as much as the weather.

This is never a spur of the moment trip. Pfft. I have to transport a 1 yr old and a four month old. I don’t just up and decide to go out. It takes timing and synchronization of getting all three of us ready to go out. It’s not a huge distance but really, this is Canada, we get cold up here. I don’t want either of them getting over heated before marching out into the Great White North’s sometimes frigid winds.

Last week wasn’t too cold. We walked to Mama Mouse’s office not too far from Eglinton Station and afterwards wondered around the area visiting Toys r Us and The cupcake Shoppe (Amazing by the way). We even went by the office a second time for a top up. 

I should also mention that to make this trip involves a stroller and a baby carrier along with a diaper bag full of two little girls necessities. I can wear either of the girls in the carrier and switch them to the stroller based on their moods and temperments. On this day Little Miss was in the stroller sleeping and Minnie was on my chest sleeping. We were at the bus station before finally getting on the bus to make the short trip home. Little did I realize the high-school only a couple of stops along the way lets out at 3. streaming onto the bus came a hoard of rude, loud and overly Axed teenage boys. One of whom kicked the stroller.

Now, I know that might not seem like anything bug and in fact could have been a mistake even though he kicked it higher up. I thought so too at first. Then he did it again, and again and then finally a forth time. That was when I snapped. In a loud and angry voice that I knew would carry over the teenage cacophony of noise I said ‘If you kick my stroller one more time I’ll kick you right back.’

He looked up at me with a deer in the head lights stare and did that mutter ‘Sorry’ we all know they don’t mean. All of his friends had stopped talking and were watching both their friend and myself with expressions of utter fascination; waiting I imagine to see what would happen next. The man sitting next to me chocked, coughed and started to laugh. An older woman across the way smiled. All of the teenagers stayed quiet from then on.

Oh, and that guy next to me? Yeah, he’s Minnie’s Dad. He’s finished work early and we happened to catch the same bus together. The rest of the trip home these boys watched me, waiting to see if I would do anything else I suppose, and when it was time for me to unload with my stroller they all were very polite and assistive. Each and every one who spoke to me called me Ma’am and nodded their heads and either moved to the side so I didn’t have to push my way off the bus or tried to help me lift it to the side walk.

Could I have done or said something less aggressive? Definintely. Would it have been as effective? Probably not. What if one of the babies legs had been hanging a little closer to the edge and he kicked on of the girls? He was not just gently nudding the stroller, but kicking it. He would have HURT  one of them. Did that thought cross his mind when he made the decision to kick the stroller? Did he mean to try and hurt either of them intentionally? I don’t believe so but that doesn’t make it ok to purposefully assault someone else’s property in public and it wouldn’t have made his behaviour any less horrible if something had happened.

I’m only 26, maybe 10-11 years older than those boys probably were and yet even at my most obnoxious as a teen I never would have done something to inconsiderate. I don’t know anyone really that I knew when I was that age who would have done something like that. I don’t know what has changed in the years since I was a teenager but it sometimes feels as if there has been a monumental shift in what is acceptable behaviour. That since there are so many more teens after school roaming around before the business day ends that other people should cow toe to them and work around them. Maybe some of you will think I was overly harsh, I don’t. I reacted in the moment and in all honesty think I did a good job of not reacting more explosively. I just hope that the next time he of any of his friends are out and about they’ll think twice about their behaviour towards others and their property and how they treat it.

So You Want To Take A Taxi

Here in Toronto there are several taxi companies. They range from having as little as only a few cars in one area to nearly two thousand throughout the city. Some companies operate on the street level only relying only on people waving them down and others have an advanced computer system set up to process calls from all over and send a car out over the radio. I know you’re sitting there wondering where this is all going so let me say this post is in proper phone etiquette when ordering a car to make your life easier as well as a few hints for saving yourself time and frustration in the car.

1. Know where you are. No, really please do. You’re probably in a hurry if you’re ordering a cab so make sure you can give the correct information so there are no confusions between the company and yourself. It only frustrates you and delays you when a car goes to the wrong pick up address. Telling them you’re at a bar downtown gets you nowhere.

2. Be helpful. We know you’re in a hurry but if we’re asking you a question its because we need the answer. I promise we’re not wasting your time or doing it to annoy you. Its actually important to us, so take a calming breath and just answer the questions we NEED to ask.

3. Be patient. There are only several thousand taxi cars in Toronto and a couple million people. It will be busy sometimes. Also, calling for a taxi might seem like the smartest idea you’ve had all day but you’re not the only person who feels that way in bad weather conditions.

4. Taxis have car numbers. That number on the side of the door you see? There’s a reason that driver has it. Its for identification purposes. That number is only used by that car no matter which company they driver for. Its how if you lose a purse, phone or anything really in the car we can try to trace it for you. The larger the company the more drivers work for them. For example Beck taxi has at any given time between 1600 and 2100 cars. Most of those cars have at least 2 drivers. Mathematically that means there’s a minimum of 3200 drivers working for Beck. No, they do not know who you’re talking about when you say Bob was your drivers name. Just check the car number on the door; its easier and more reliable.

4. House parties and bars or clubs. Since its the holiday season I’m going to say drinking and driving is a terrible idea and taxi companies are always the safer alternative. That being said it is the holiday and they will be busy. Plan ahead. If you know you’ll need a car at a prearranged time you can usually book it in advance. They will show up. If you’re on your way home from a very busy area of the city like the entertainment district remember thst lots of other people will be too and just because you’re nice a d won’t steal another’s cab a stranger might attempt to get yours. Names! Your parents gave you one for a reason, use it. It might seem funny or clever to say ‘Batman’ but if you’ve been drinking how likely are you to remember that phony name you gave them.

5. Call takers and drivers are people too. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it; blowing up and freaking out on the csr in store or on the phone when something is wrong. The person on the receiving end expects a certain amount of flack but name calling and cursing don’t help you or make them want to help you anymore than the bare minimum. People are not psychic no matter what some say. CSR’s don’t know what you’re thinking or what you mean as you chatter on about the ‘grey window skyscraper with the statue out front’. I know when you’re upset that you can’t always help tone of voice and word choice but try to be a little more aware; we’re not out to get you or purposefully ruin your day.

6. Mini vans are not moving trucks. Seriously. They’re not. Sure a mini van can hold quite a bit more than a car but there’s a reason the moving industry is as big as it is. They move people lives for them and that includes all the large pieces of furniture we value or need. A taxi moves people and a few extra pieces for a temporary time. We can’t move your living or bedroom for you. Ikea and all those other large furniture stores have delivery services for that purpose. We’ll help you in any way we can but we can’t do this.

7. Pets are ok. I don’t personally believe in pets as an accessory but I do believe in taking care of your animal and sometimes in order to get to the vets office you need to use a taxi. All we ask is that you let us know when you have a non homosapian companion tagging along. Not for monetary purposes but for allergy purposes. Its cruel and inconsiderate to expect someone with allergies to suffer unnecessarily when we can offer a someone who won’t sneeze nonstop or go into anaphylactic shock whole driving a car.

Lets say you’ve now gotten a taxi and something is wrong, I can help with that too.

1. Dirty/Smelly car. Of course get out if its too much but feel free to open a window if you’re willing to muscle through. We also encourage you to let us know. People sitting at the office headquarters can’t tell there’s a problem until we’ve been told and then we’ll do whatever we can to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Just call us with that number on the door and we’ll fix it.

2. Rude/Insulting driver. I would like to believe this doesn’t happen but in reality it can and does. Let us know! A company that relies on its customer service never likes hearing about a bad situation but we can deal with it and improve on it when we know improvement is needed.

Working for a taxi company means I’ve dealt with all of these situations and more. Some make me shake my head, some leave me peeved (whether at the driver, myself or the situation; I’ve done it all) and some make me laugh out loud. I’ll give a few examples.

I had been at the company for about a year and a driver called me freaking out. Why you ask? So did I. It turns out he had picked up a customer from tha airport and they had had a cat carrier with them. I know what you’re probably thinking and you’d be wrong. They did not forget the carrier. They forgot their 1.5 foot long baby alligator. Yes, alligator. It had somehow managed to get out of the carrier and was lying on the floor in the back of the poor mans car. We had no name or contact information for the customer and they’d been dropped off at a public place. All I could do was give him the animal control number and hope it turned out ok.

Remember that just because I work for a taxi company doesn’t mean I don’t have a need for them. Friends and I had gone out one night and did the responsible thing taking a taxi home since we were quite inebriated. We were chattering on and enjoying a lively conversation with thw driver when he reaches back and offers us some gum and candy. We’re drunk and everything our parents taught us about stangers and candy didn’t even register. We all popped a bit in our mouths and a few moments later he handed us a folded piece of paper.

Have you ever heard about the urban legend where someone finds out they’ve been given an STD or other illness on a piece of paper from a near stranger. I have and the second when I grabbed the paper was hugely sobering. Happily, all that was on the paper was a newspaper article about the driver and how he’d been on the Rosie O’Donnell show because he always gives away free gum and candy.

Of course I have negative experiences but its the holidays and I don’t feel like heaping negativity out into the universe at the moment so you’re getting some of my more interesting examples. I hop you enjoyed them and that my points are helpful to you if you choose to use a cab this holiday season or any time.