Vomit bag, Horse Feeder or Shopping bag, you decide...all help the environment.
One of a customer's favorite queries into the life of a hack or cabbie ( I use the term hack and cabbie because someone from Australia asked me if I was insulted when referred to as a cabbie...I was not and assured him most shouldn't be , so no worries mate I said.) so anyhow, the question is " Did anyone ever puke in your cab? " ....and the simple answer is YES. We pick up from 12 to 40 fares a night and up to 4 people per fare, so the mere fact that we may have 12 to 160 drinkers in our cab on a given night, pukers and vomit people will sooner or later appear especially if you work the night shift AND, are bound to appear if you work Friday or Saturday night as I do.
Some hacks just go to a car wash and will pay whatever the price to clean it up, or they carry the supplies to do it themselves should it happen. Some just go back to the garage , remove the back seat and garden hose it out and throw some air freshener in there. My preference is a regular plastic shopping bag (doubled up to prevent leaking ) from any supermarket or convenience store and should I feel they are suspect to do The Technicolor Yawn, Call Earl, Toss Your Cookies or just plan on Praying to the Porcelain God when they get home , I give them my complimentary feeder bag that has two handles should you be lucky enough with a friend to help you strap a handle onto each ear , just like a horse feeder and let everyone enjoy the peaceful cab ride without the irate cab driver. Happy times for all.
I'll share two stories for you that were amusing, not so much for me but I'm sure you'll like it.
Both of these stories were my LAST fare of the night , which has for me been bad luck with the puking. Here goes.
Story 1. It's about 4am Saturday morning and I see two girls waving at me in Astoria , 34 ave and 21st st. They give me their destination before getting in my chariot and ask me " am I cool with taking them to 31st St and 23rd Ave ? " It wasn't far, but a lot of gypsy cabs do it cheaper or whatever , so I told them to get in , it shouldn't cost much. They both seemed quite sober speaking in full sentences and coherently. I'm thinking, luck is on my side again, until I hear her friend say " you don't feel good? " I immediately go into Batmobile mode and pull over between the elevated pillars under the "L" where the "N" train runs and am rolling the windows down as if reaching for my Bat-arang in the same moment. Holy chunks King Hackman !!!! She actually got her head out the window and NONE of it wound up in the car!!!!! My butler Alfred will be pleased. I handed her partner in crime my horse-feeder, AKA plastic bag doubled up and persuaded her to hold it for her sick friend, and if she did I'd be her BFF ( Best Friend Forever ). She agreed as I pulled away and briskly moved closer to their destination, hoping that the one holding the bag wasn't as bad as her friend. I kept a close eye on my rear view mirror to make sure she was doing her job holding the bag, and then the inevitable "Technicolor Yawn " , yet this time into my trusty double bag. No mess once again, I am truly feeling the King Hackman feeling of preparation is the key to success. We arrive at their destination with the girl who was expecting to "pray to the porcelain god" telling me "I feel so much better sir" Sir??? Sir who?? I was never Knighted???!! I'm part Irish !! The Queen will never make me a SIR!!!.....It was the first time a girl had called me SIR, I'm only 39, but a Sir, hardly you little pukemonster from hell. I felt old...but got my BatHackesque attitude back quickly and told her "no problem miss, just make sure your daughters don't see you on the way in, and don't wake up the grandkids, they'll never go back to sleep on a weekend" as she looked at me crosseyed...I then told her friend the cost of the fare that was on the meter and she paid me with a TWO dollar tip , not generous at all after that nonsense, but I'm sure they tipped the bartender $5 a round....but here is the kicker , after handing me the money , she handed me the plastic bag tied in a knot filled with VOMIT !!!! What the fuck !!! Two dollar tip and a bag of Vomit ?!?!?! What fucking planet are you from ?? I took the money but said "are you KIDDING ME ?!?! " as I handed her back the vomitbag and she exited the taxi while mumbling an apology. I waited to make sure she they got into there house, because I am a gentleman, just not a SIR, as she threw the bag of vomit towards a garbage pail on the sidewalk and missed. She waved to me as she closed the door to her house , I waved back and gave a light toot of the taxi horn and made my way back to the garage to go home to the Hack Cave and make sure I got a good mornings sleep....another vomit story on my hack belt.....another reason I am The King of New York Hacks.
Story 2. Saturday night , looking for a last fare of the night driving west on 45th st hoping to get a fare from a stripper at the Penthouse club going home to Brooklyn or the Bronx...a nice fare to end the evening and round it out...UNTIL...insert Horror music.... I pick up this 20something kid...male mind you... who runs out of a building hailing me and preventing me from reaching MY destination taking HIM on as a client. He enters the cab and says " Broadway and Fulton " assertive, and in a very sober tone.. He requested to taking the West Side Highway to get there quick, to my delight, and I sped, under the speed limit of course to the Joe DiMaggio Highway onward to his destination. During the ride he asked me to switch the radio to the dance station and I turn it up a little.." no problem I complied " . However all of a sudden he requested to pull over immediately for which I did. The West Side Highway is very busy at this time and immediately I was in Batmobile-hack mode again.....I pulled over to a median and he ran to the bushes and began his ritual of purging to the gods..he assured me he'd be back and I was confident he would , considering its VERY difficult to get a cab on the West Side Highway at 4am to go anywhere , much less any real destination . So as a hero at large, I waited as I watched him puke in the floral. He got back in the cab and thanked me for waiting and noted that most drivers would have left him there in the breeze, he also assured me he was fine now and there would be no worries of him being sick in the cab...I thought about leaving him there but also felt bad for him at the same time. I then, because I didn't believe him and I wanted to end this quickly proceeded in an excessive driving manor blowing yellow lights which in the cab industry is RED, and 99% of the time when you break this law you will be getting a photo in the mail for $50 and a thank you from NYC in the form of a ticket. It 'aint worth it , but instinctively we do it anyway as I had done this present night. "Part of the business" from what other hacks have told me and just what one friend of mine relates these fees to taxes, "just maintenance fees my friend , just maintenance fees , hahhahahaha" .....maybe he is right...anyway I saw the flash of the robot photographer go off as I sped through one of the yellows hoping that he would not puke in the cab..We finally got to his destination and he tells me " I'm so horny " to which I reply, "there are still lots of girls walking around , so you still have time to take care of that...Twelve dollars ". The meter was $12.40 but I didn't want any fuss with change...He then proceeded to tell me " he's REALLY HORNY, and that he wants to suck dick" , so I reply "there are lots guys walking around too" ....then he sticks his head up to the partition and tells me " will you let me suck your dick? " ....Awkward Silence....then , I say " one of these guys on the street will let you suck their dick, it's still early, but I have to get my car back to the garage ...TWELVE BUCKS bro" ...now I was impatient... vomit, a ticket from a robot and now this bullshit.....why me? He checked his pockets and scraped up $12 , no tip , and he looked miffed that I turned down his offer...and then before he gets out he sticks his head up to the partition again and says "you sure?" Unfuckingbelievable......"you have to get out of the car bro, I'm straight, but thanks anyway" I reply, he gets out , leaves the door open and walks away as I hit the gas hard enough to escape this idiot and close the door by itself at the same time. I shake my head in disbelief of this experience and mumble to myself "maintenance fees"...as I drive back to the garage and wonder if the fee's are worth it to be the King of New York Hacks.