Cripple Fight!

I had my first-ever physical altercation on the job last night.

I got a call to pick up at a sports bar around 82nd & Division. The guy inside told me he'd be out in a second, so I went back to the cab. I saw him get off his barstool inside, and he couldn't stand, and two men had to help him walk outside. My first instinct was to tell them he wasn't going to get a ride, but I noticed that his legs seemed to be moving weirdly in a way that didn't seem drunk so much as the way someone with cerebral palsy walks. They told me he was disabled and asked if I'd help him in when he got home, and I cheerily agreed. When he told me that he was going to 183rd & Stark, I was even cheerier.

He had some food with him, and began to eat it. As we turned onto Stark, I asked him in a perfectly normal, polite, and non-confrontational way to please not eat in the cab, if he could wait. Note that I didn't tell him, I asked, as not wanting the food to get cold is understandable, and this was going to be a good fare. He didn't immediately respond, so I kept driving.

After a few blocks, he started grumbling that I had to stop trying to fuck him over and take him to 183rd and Halsey. I was confused, and told him that I thought he wanted me to take him to Stark, and that I didn't see how I was fucking him over at all. "Stop disrespecting me, motherfucker," he said (and several other things in this vein) and some incoherent barkings about not spilling food. I pulled over and told him (not so cheerily, but still politely, in my "talking sternly to small children or drunk people voice") that it was okay for him to eat in the cab, and that I hadn't in any way tried to disrespect him, but that if he yelled at me again or called me names again, I was going to pull over and throw him out of the cab. I asked him if he understood, and he told me to just take him home.

I started driving, and he continued to mumble things. I made out a "motherfucker," and asked him if he'd said something. No response. "I thought so," I said, and kept driving. After about ten more blocks, he made a comment about stupid motherfucking white boys, and I pulled over and told him to get the fuck out of the cab. He continued to sit there, and said that he'd like to see me try and get him out of the cab, that I need to just keep driving. I told him that I'd made it clear I'd give him the boot if he was rude again, and that he had to get out. "Keep driving" he said, "I've got money and I'll tip you, motherfucker." "Get the FUCK out of the cab," I replied.

It went on like this for maybe a minute, until he told me to call the police, that he'd like to see me call the police as he'd whup my ass before they got there. This was actually something that had already crossed my mind (for numerous reasons, bodily throwing a crippled man out of my cab and onto the sidewalk at 109th & Stark wasn't something I was willing to do), and I pushed the voice button to talk to my dispatcher, and dialed the cops. As I was reaching for the cab's radio, I noticed him swinging a punch out of the corner of my, and pulled back out of the cab, the blow glancing off the side of my head.

"You either get the fuck out of the cab or sit and behave yourself!" I yelled.

"Pussy bitch motherfucker" etc.

I made another attempt to talk to my dispatcher (of course the cops were busy), and he grabbed at my shirt and tried to grab me about the throat. I turned, punched him (rather weakly, due to the seat between us) in the face, and stuck my thumb in his eye until he backed off. This got me some time to explain things to my dispatcher, who got the cops on their way.

I just stood outside the cab waiting for the cops to show, as the man refused to get out of it and continued to sit in the backseat yelling about what a pussy I was. After a couple minutes he got out to throw his food at me, bait me some more, and try to fight me. This was really just kind of sad and pathetic, because he couldn't stand or walk without keeping a hand on the car to balance himself. Whenever he made a lunge at me, I just walked calmly to the other side of the car, and he couldn't reach me.

His eagerness to fight was just really puzzling to me. I tend toward the scrawny end of the spectrum, but our brief tussle earlier had shown pretty clearly that I would be able to beat the shit out of him if I decided to do so. I'm not trying to make myself sound tough here - a drunk cripple is just never going to stand much of a chance against an able-bodied 26 year old man. I mean it was like me getting drunk and deciding that I wanted to beat the hell out of an NFL linebacker. Anyway, he kept yelling at me, and I kept telling him to chill out or leave, though toward the end I was starting to get annoyed enough that wailing on him for a bit and claiming self-defense didn't seem like that bad an idea, if for no other reason than to shut him up. But it was enough like the opening scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail without my indulging him.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to break out the camera phone for this occasion, so there's nothing to commemorate it.

A smoking-hot (the most stunningly beautiful woman I've seen in a long time, actually) blonde cop, and some standard-issue fat guys with shaved heads and goatees showed up after two or three minutes. I explained the situation to them, and they asked me what I wanted to happen. I told them that the incident had been annoying enough already, that dealing with pressing charges and whatnot would totally ruin my night, and that I didn't care what happened so long as the guy was gone. I assume/hope the pigs took him to detox, which was what needed to happen. I gave them my contact information, they gave me $20 out of his wallet, and I went back to work.

Financially, the night ended up sucking for a Saturday. I made more on Monday (though Monday was the best non-weekend night I've ever had), but again it was still more than many drivers made tonight, and I got a late start to boot. The cab had a CD player, which is always nice. Whole lot of Ghostface bumping in the whip, but not enough trips to the suburbs or airport. I think I was within Portland city limits all night long.


Blogger MJ06 said...

Thats rediculous I would hate to be in that situation.

July 03, 2006 7:24 PM  
Blogger wil said...


I have added your excellent blog to my links.

Very good writing style.

July 04, 2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Crabbie said...

Thanks, I'm glad you like it!

July 06, 2006 3:45 AM  

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