We experienced the best and worst of the London cabbie last night: from not taking a fare because to do so would have been a rip-off, to attempted murder.
We were going to an exhibition opening, and had got off the bus wildly too early. We were walking in the right direction, but weren’t quite sure where the gallery was, and we were running late. So we flagged down a passing cab and asked for the street. “It’s just over there,” he said, pointing, “Don’t waste your money.”
It was, indeed, just over there. Admirable behaviour, I thought, as he could easily have made a few quid taking us there.
After we left and were walking to the bus stop, there was an altercation between a cab driver and a cyclist. I didn’t see how it started, but there was shouting and gesticulation, and the cabbie started to get out of his cab.
The cyclist headed off up the road, and suddenly the cabbie roared off after him. It looked like nothing less than an attempt to run the cyclist down.
I guess the cabbie came to his senses, because I don’t think he actually hit the guy. The cyclist very sensibly got off the road and cycled down the pavement in the opposite direction. The cab zoomed off up the road, to fast and too far away for me to get its number, unfortunately. I had my phone out ready to call the cops.
The cyclist seemed to be OK, physically at least. We saw him back on the road and heading in the direction he had been going. It’s scary to think, though, that you could either be that cyclist, or get into that guy’s cab.