Thursday 19 February 2015

Thought Picnic: A taxi ride and the things money cannot buy

Not for all the money
The taxi ride from the station to my place of work is not a long one, maybe about 10 minutes. I have gravitated towards a company that appears to live up to its name, but that is beside the point.
Now, farmers who own their own land in England are in a different class, they are somewhat in a way the residue of what we nostalgically refer to as the English or more broadly British values. This taxi firm belongs to a farming family.
This matter is quite a difficult subject for some of my friends and much as I understand the push towards a more egalitarian society, there is some things in which we will never be equal. Those things come down to things money will not and cannot buy, as manners, morals, respect, character, common sense, trust, patience, class, integrity and love. [Found on Facebook and littered around the Internet.]
Front seat interaction
The people who pick me up are all retired professionals, people who have had interesting and varied careers before they settled down to occasional chauffeur duties on call, yet not full time.
Regretfully, one of such gentlemen, and there are ladies too, who had picked me up and few times and even taken me on longer journeys died on Christmas Day, he was Geoff Pullar. I did not know much about his career, but there is enough in the conversations we had to know that he had had a very interesting life.
Suffice it to say that if the cab is a saloon car, there are drivers with whom it is best to sit in the back seat and there are others with whom there is a lot to learn sitting in the front seat.
Of drivers at this company, the front seat was always the place for conversation with former academics, sportsmen, services personnel, bankers, doctors and many of that cadre. Knowledgeable, well-spoken, dignified and funny, many a story told and an intelligent conversation had.
A different mindset
In many ways, these drivers were not in it for the money, whilst the money might be handy, there was a greater air of bearing and comportment about them. Every once in a while, I was regaled with stories of meeting up with old colleagues or being invited to functions where for work or activities they have done before meant they were honoured and revered guests, understated, yet exuding class, is all I could say about them.
I noticed one such division when as I got off the train, a fellow passenger found that his previously booked taxi had not arrived, my driver was helpful in trying to find out what might have happened to the booking whilst at the same time, without restraint one of the cab drivers waiting in the ranks was about the poach the passenger.
A values proposition
Much as it would have been convenient for the passenger, it was very bad behaviour on the part of that driver. Immediately, my driver told him off whilst threatening to report him too.
Obviously, I cannot fail to notice the differences between these drivers in dressing and attitude too, that the ones I felt most comfortable with, looked the most professional, formally dressed and rarely quibbled about competition and costs.
Yes, they were slightly more expensive, but for the pleasure of the ride, their company, the conversation and good old-fashioned values that money cannot buy, they were worth every penny and more. Never miss the opportunity to ride in a taxi with someone whose life’s experiences will enrich yours considerably, it is about the person, not about the job they do. I guess money may sometimes buy you access to good conversation, it is however, not guaranteed.

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