To Speak Or Not To Speak, That Is The Question

Cab drivers wear many hats throughout the day. Much like bartenders, we hear and see it all. When I first started driving I thought my gift to gab would be one of my best assets. I could talk to anyone. I had enough knowledge about most topics that I could bullshit my way through any ride. It didn’t take long for me to fit right in as a seasoned hack in Vegas. I could tell you almost anything you wanted. If I didn’t know the right answer I made it up, sold it hard and looked up the info later. Oh wait, did I just give away a hack secret?

Time went on and I found myself becoming a different person with different backgrounds depending on who sat in the seat. I did well with this and made a good amount of side money because of my out going and all-knowing personality. I would have a fare sit in the cab and would bombard them with a series of questions to feel out who I needed to be to relate best with them. I would then get into that character and life went on like that for five to ten minutes at a time.

All was going well until I came I to work one day, I’m assuming sleep deprived, and just not in the mood to deal with anyone. I got my first fare and I don’t even think I said good morning. I simply asked “where to” and drove off not speaking a syllable until I got to the drop off point and told them the fare amount. I put my hand out and waited for some remark about my lack of personality and them to give me $13 on a $12.90 fare and ask for their dime back. But to my amazement, it was the exact opposite. I was handed a 20 and told to have a good day.

I sat there for a second trying to figure out what just happened and chalked it up to the fact that they must have just been nice. I got back into the cab and went to pick up my next fare. Still not being in the mood to deal with people, I treated the them the same and yet I got the same response. Ok this is just a fluke. No way am I making more money by not saying a word to these people. As the day went on, about 25 of the 30 fares that day gave me at least an $8 tip.

Being very confused as to what had happened that day, I got on the phone and called the wife. After braking the day down for her I hear a slight giggle roar of laughter coming through the phone. Not understanding what’s so funny about this, I asked why she was laughing? She replies simply,

Wife:     I’ve been telling you this forever. Just shut your big damn mouth.
Me:       What are you talking about?
Wife:     The more you talk, the less we listen. You talk too much and your fares  obviously think so too. So do us all a favor and shut your trap and make us some damn                             money.

Taken back from this news that the wife thinks I talk too much, (I swear I’ve never heard her say that before) I hang up the phone and start thinking. Is this true? Can I make more money by shutting up? I need to test this. Over the following weeks I tried talking to my fares and not talking to my fares to get a good average. And what do you know? I made more money by not trying to become who I thought they wanted me to be and by not making crap up as I go.  Nope! I made more money just sitting in the driver’s seat and driving.

Now of course this didn’t stop me from talking, but when I complained about have a slow tip day to the wife I would get the same response every time. SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH! I love her. Over the years I’ve found a good happy medium on talking. The made up stories are out the window for the most part and only used when a fare wants a good story that I just don’t have. I now read people to see if they are wanting to talk or not. But over the years I’ve found myself hiding in the residential dealing with locals.


8 Responses to “To Speak Or Not To Speak, That Is The Question”

  1. I have to agree with Jill – mainly because I don’t want to hear someone yapping, or be given the third degree during my trek from point A to point B! But I still ❤ you :-p

  2. Don’t speak unless spoken to. Didn’t your mommy ever teach you that?

    I’m sort of like you, I’ll talk to anyone if they talk back. I had a 45 minute conversation with the oil delivery guy yesterday. Never met him before, but we just started talking.

    We all have days were we don’t feel like gabbing. In your case it turned out to be a profitable one.

    • Yeah THY hates that I will just start talking to random people about anything. She says I don’t know when to shut up and leave well enough alone. what can I say, people fascinate me.

  3. Lol … I am totally gulliable. If I walked out of that cab with you feeding me some talk … twenty mins later I would have told everyone what you said. Not knowing whether ir true or not but saying the cab driver told me so so it must be true!

    • As soon as I got a iPhone my facts got better but If you go back and read “you never know what you’re going to get” and click on the update you’ll see I’m still making it up sometimes.

  4. TheIdiotSpeaketh Says:

    Don’t beat yourself up buddy. When I was a cave guide, I was the same way. I am a yacker by nature. There was nothing worse than me yacking in each room and then walking the group in total silence on to the next stop. Like you, I prefer interaction with the customers. After enough tours, I got to where I could gauge the groups pretty well and varied my conversations accordingly. Some groups like a chatty guide, others preffered a quiet guide when I was not doing my spiel. Once I adjusted to each group individually, my tips went way up also. If I were a driver like you, with the wide variety of folks you encounter on a daily basis, I would probably be chattering my head off as I drive.. 🙂

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