One Wednesday afternoon I got a job to pick up at an old person sheltered housing accommodation. I could see on my taxi screen that the lady I was picking up was only going to the local hairdressers, which was situated about two hundred yards from the pickup, but as now a lot of people living in the sheltered housing are not very good on their pins, I had no problem with this journey. I love picking up the older generation, you get some great stories from them, but to be fair I didn’t think the journey would be long enough to get any conversation going.
I pulled up outside the sheltered accommodation, the front door opens and this little old lady aided by two walking sticks starts heading towards my car. I jumped out of my car and said to the lady, “Are you getting in the front or the back?”
She was only about 10 feet away from my car when she waved one of her sticks at me and replied in a very stern voice “Get back in the car, I can manage to get in by myself”
“You sure love?” I asked.
“I’ve told you once haven’t I” she barked at me, giving me a sharp look.
“Ok” I said, and got back into my car. I watched her struggle to open the heavy door, then watched her struggle closing the door as she had to lean half way out to get the handle.
“You going to the hairdressers at the bottom there love?” I asked in my most pleasant voice,
“Yes” she grunted
So I drove to the hairdressers, pulled up outside, she paid me the fare, and then I made the fatal mistake of asking “Are you alright getting out or do you need a hand?”
The look she gave me was enough of an answer, she got out, closed the door and shuffled into the hairdressers.
The following Wednesday I was lucky enough to get the same job, picking up the same lady going to the hairdressers. So off I went and pulled up outside the sheltered accommodation. I sat in my car watching the little old lady, aided by her two walking sticks make her way to my car. She opened the door, leaned half way out to close the door, pretty much the same thing as last week, except when the door was closed she turned to me and said, “Most drivers have the manners to get out and help me into the car, you’re a very lazy and unhelpful man.”
I just looked at her in disbelief, and before I could say anything she added, “Just drive if you can manage that.”
I took a deep breath and drove her to the hairdressers again. As she handed me the money she spat out “Not that you deserve this.”
I took the money and started to open my door, “Don’t bother yourself I’ll manage,” she said to me in an angry tone. I chose to get out the car, but she waved me away when I tried to help her, not wanting to get slapped with one of those sticks I stepped to one side, and watched her struggle out of the car. Then watched her shuffle into the hairdressers.
As I drove away to my next job, still bewildered by what just happened, I wondered what she did for a living, school teacher sprung intently into my mind, or maybe a prison officer, or even she might have been in the army, but which one I thought, then the penny dropped I knew what she did, she probably was an SS Officer and has been hiding in England since the end of the war., and that’s what I’m sticking too.
But lesson learnt, so next Wednesday I’ll make sure I’m not in that area at the time, which for the next three Wednesday’s I wasn’t, but on the fourth, I pressed my button on the taxi screen to except a job, when I looked at the details of where the pickup was I thought nooooo, I looked at the customer’s name, noooooooooo, I thought should I tell the office I’ve got a flat tyre just to get out of doing this job, no I decided to do it. As I drove to the sheltered accommodation, I decided on how I was going to handle this, I pulled up outside and watched as the little old lady with her Gestapo boots on shuffled towards the car aided by her walking sticks, I jumped out of my car and was told politely but firmly to get back in my car. I smiled to myself, job done, my plan was to take the first bollocking off her instead of the second one.