Archive for Airport

Praying To The East

Posted in Driving Basics, Foreigners, Random Info, Road Rage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by HackingVegas

There is a lot of things you can say about a hack, but in Vegas you can’t say the industry isn’t diverse. When you talk about a hack in most cities 9 out of 10 times people will think about an Arab man wearing a turban.  This is such a common thought that even Hollywood uses this as comedic relief in their movies.

Here in Vegas we have about every region of the world represented and therefor we have all types of religion as well.  One nice thing is that with this diversity most everyone gets along. Most ethnicities hang out in the same groups but are always willing to bring anyone into their circles.  I love this and wish this was the case around the world.

Even though this is the way of most, we do have a few bad apples.  The most common issue we have is against anyone who prays to the east or does any type of religious ritual while working. For some reason people still have issues about things they don’t know much about other than what they’ve seen on FOX News, or “facts” they’ve gotten from a friend. During the day if you drive around any taxi hang out, you will see people on their mats praying. Most of them try to find dark corners to do this but we do have a few who are proud and don’t hide from the public.

Over the years I have seen many of these men get yelled at and have things thrown at them. I hate this and hope the people doing this to these people trying to mind their own business get whats coming to them.  Many of these drivers who pray during work have set up their houses as a safe prayer zones and have even got a restaurant to open their doors to them in the early morning to give shelter.  I love this but at the same time wish they didn’t have to go find places for them to go. They should be able to stop anywhere and do whatever they need to do to fulfill their religions practices.

To wrap this up I’m just asking for people to stop hating and educate themselves of what they are uncomfortable with. If  8,000 hacks can do it I think anyone out there can.  If you don’t feel that you can talk to people to educate yourself then I would like to introduce the world to the Internet.  It’s amazing what you can learn. 

A Cab Drivers Voice

Posted in Driving Basics, Law Enforcement, Random Info, Touching Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2011 by HackingVegas

I recently wrote a post titled “F The B”  that struck a chord with me. It got me thinking about my industry and made me angry. I have my wife proof all my posts and when she finished “F That B” she asked me something I haven’t thought about in a while.

Wife: please tell me you reported this?
Me: I wish I could’ve but it goes no where.
Wife: what are you talking about, why wouldn’t it go anywhere?
Me: trust me, been here done that, I’m over it.

This conversation really made me think and it made me mad. I’m not this kind of person. I’m the kind of person that calls in every drunk driver, stops at most traffic accidents where help is not already there (I use to work in the medical field and try to help when I can), and help people in need within reason. So why have I changed my ways? Why is, “It’s a waste of time”, my first thought? I started thinking and I think I figured it out.

I remember the first time I reached out to try to help someone who was in need after I had started to drive a cab. It was about three months after I started and I had picked up a single male from the airport who was going to the Stratosphere Hotel. On the way there I started in on my normal chit chat. He was in from Kentucky and said he was wanting to find his friends while he was in town. I asked where they were staying and got an answer I never in a million years expected, “They’re dead”. A calm silence filled the car. I had no clue what to say. I’m a trained critical incident counselor and found myself speechless. So I did the one thing I could think of. I listened.

He started telling me about his plan while in Vegas and how he had even told people at home. He said they just laughed it off and told him,”you need this break so enjoy your time out there”. The details started pouring out. He came to town with a backpack that was full of every dollar to his name. He booked a room at the hotel for a week and after checking in, he was going to hit the tables. He was going to play the tables until he had nothing but $100 left. When he got down to his “goal” he planned to eat a “nice meal” and go find his friends. I asked how he planned to find his friends and he came back with a detailed explanation.

First I plan to rig a rope to the ceiling of the room. I then plan to dangle there until I see them. But if the ceiling is too low, I will find a way to fly off the tower. One way or another I will find them and life will go on.

Once again I didn’t know what to say. I started with the basics and I asked if he had thought about getting help from the VA. He said he doesn’t want their help and that he believed that they are the reason he feels this way. They took his friends so why would they want to help him. I then asked if I could take him to a place that was not a part of the military to try and get him some help. He refused.  I took the last few minutes to try to talk him down but had no response.  I was wishing that I could just take him to the hospital or somewhere for help, but as a driver it is against the law for me to take a fare anywhere other than where they want to go. I could be charged with kidnapping and much more. So I pull up to the hotel and let him out.  I then call over the bellman and let him know what he was telling me. I get blown off and move on to security with the same response.  I then call my supervisor and fill him in on what I had just been told and once again got the blow off.  Not knowing what else to do, I called the Taxi Authority and they said I need to let the hotel know and that it was all that I could do.

I was upset. Everywhere I turned I got the same response and felt helpless.  I sat there for a few minutes and finally just went back to work. I felt like shit the rest of the day. The next few days I tried to find out what happened to him and see if the hotel had any issues with guests. I got no where and finally had to just push it out of my mind.  I had a few more situations similar to this and time after time I got the same response. I have developed a mind-set over the last few years to just let things go. I am just a driver and all I have to do is get someone from point A to point B. I only help when I’m asked to.

I still have a hard time with this and I know this fare will always be in the back of my mind. I wish there was a way to make changes in the industry. Give me your thoughts and let me know what you would do.

F The B

Posted in Crazy Families, Driving Basics, Kids, Random Info, Touching Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2011 by HackingVegas

……I have her by the rat’s nest she calls hair and I’m beating her head into the dash of my car when a cop pulls up. The officer jumps into action and helps me beat this bitch down until she admits she’s wrong and takes back everything she said to her son.

Ok. I’m not a big fan of physical violence and this really didn’t happen, but something like it should have happened to this god awful lady I picked up the other day. Let me fill you in.

I got a run to the airport that an insurance company is paying for. We get these all the time and in this case the insured is a young boy who’s about 12. I get to the apartments about 10 minutes before their scheduled pick up time and I just start playing on my phone until it’s time. I keep looking up to see if they are coming out and I see the blinds move. Someone is looking at me. I get out to let them know I’m ready whenever they are. I step out of the car to a front door flying open so hard it hits the wall behind it and slams shut. An older lady then comes to the door and opens it back and said her daughter will be right there.

I’m now standing there looking at an entryway that’s cluttered with clothes and random papers. A staircase is just to the left, which is also covered in papers. To the right is a small mat with blankets and a towel that’s rolled to be a makeshift pillow. While I’m waiting, the young boy comes around the corner in a wheelchair. The boy has been burned from what looks like head to toe. There are scars over every part of his body that I can see. From his shoulders to his ears are covered with skin graphs. His right hand is gone and the left is missing nearly half of its fingers. His legs are uneven which is not corrected with a shoe or brace.

I greet the boy with a good morning and ask if he’ll need any help into the car. That’s when mom pops her head out and says, “No, he’s fine. He can do it his damn self”. I simply step aside and watch this boy transfer into the car with no help. I found this impressive after all he has going on with him. Mom then comes to the entryway and throws a bag down while screaming at someone who’s just out of sight.
Mom: Where the hell is it god dammit!
Unk: I don’t know, no one has touched it since you’ve come back.
Mom: Well one of you assholes touched something. I’m missing it all.
Unk: I don’t know what to tell you. (girls name) can’t reach it and (boys name) knows better.
Mom: Well, my magazine is missing and the crossword I like is too.

She started throwing everything around her out the door and then storms. I look up and see an older lady, that I can only assume to be her mom, standing in the doorway now shaking her head. The lady got In the cab and demanded we leave. I jumped in and off we went. I didn’t think trying to talk to the lady was a good idea so I kept my hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and hoped I wouldn’t be talked to.

Within a block of the apartment I heard the first of many things that made me wish I would’ve been the one she was talking too. First I hear, “You little fuckin asshole. Are you happy? Now I have to do this shit with nothing to keep me busy.”  The boy says sorry and then there is silence for about a minute. Then mom decides she’s not done and for the rest of the trip I hear things like:

“You worthless shit. Do you really deserve this treatment?”

“What are you smiling about? Do you like making me get up this early”

“Why do I have to go through this?”

“I should’ve sent you with your dads”

She finally shut her mouth as we pulled up to the airport. I look at the boy who seems to not be phased by what just happened. I pull up to the curb and get out to grab the boys wheelchair and help him out of the car. I then shut the door and wait for mom to get out. She tries the door but little did she know that I keep my child locks on and it can only be opened from the outside.  She reaches over to the door closer to where the boy and I were standing and tries that one without success. I stand there talking to the boy acting like I didn’t notice what was going on.  She then crawls to the front seat and gets out the front passenger door. Once she’s out she looks at me pissed as hell and says,

Her: ” Did you not see me?

ME: “Oh, no. Sorry what happened?”

Her: “Fuck you asshole”

Me: “Fuck you for talking to your son that way” (boy smiles)

Her: “AAAHHHHH FUCK YOU”

and she stomps off.

It’s people like this that make me look at my home life and value the family I have. My wife and kids all have medical issues that take a lot of time and energy. My wife never once has looked at it as a chore or blamed the kids for anything. We simply have made our issues a part of our life and unless we tell someone about them no one would ever know.  I don’t care how bad the issue is, I think every parent should do this and learn to be less selfish.  I love you honey and I’m proud of you and our family.

Long Hauling

Posted in Driving Basics, Law Enforcement with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by HackingVegas

I found this map on Google images and thought it would be a good thing to post for anyone coming to our city. What is this map showing you? Well it’s showing you the difference between a honest driver and a dishonest driver.

Believe it or not, we have thousands of first time visitors come into Las Vegas everyday and they have no clue what they have gotten themselves into. Everyone sees Las Vegas in the movies and thinks they know it all. Unfortunately, while Las Vegas is one of the best cities to go to for a Vacation/Holiday, most new-comers (and some returning guests) don’t know how they can be ripped off within minutes of arriving in our great city.

Long hauling is when a driver takes you to a destination and does not take a direct route.  The most common way people get long hauled is when going to and from the airport. They built a Tunnel going under the runways at the airport and it leads you right on to the highway that runs just south of the airport. Most people think that going on the highway with no stop lights is the fastest way of getting somewhere, hints why this tactic works so well.

Airport to Las Vegas the right way (4mi 11mins)

Airport to Luxor Long Haul (6.9mi 14 min)

But as you can see, this is a myth and is only a way for a shitty cabdriver to try and make a few extra bucks. I never long haul my fares and even try to inform people of some of the tricks they may hear while in our town. I’m sure this would make me the most hated driver out there but I feel guests need to know.

As a industry I would say that about 80% of the drivers out there are good hard working drivers, but the other 20% are either shitty people or have just succumb to the pressure in order to keep their jobs. Due to all this, I have some questions. Some have been brought up to the TA and others are just my brainstorms.

  1. Why doesn’t the TA enforce this more then a few times a day? (I would guess only 1 in 10 cabs going through the tunnel are really going south of the airport)
  2. Why doesn’t the airport inform travelers of this with a sign or brochure (the airport loves their signs)
  3. Why don’t the companies really take action against these drivers (it’s easy to spot them)

So until the powers that be really do something about this I will keep doing whats right and informing as many of these guest as I can.

Things to keep in mind when in a taxi:

  • The tunnel is never the best way to go to the strip
  • The highway is only a money saver during the time of day when the strip is full of traffic and you should be able to see if traffic is moving or not.
  • The Strip has a few back roads we like to use. (Koval, Paradise, Dean Martin/Industrial, Frank Sinatra) Let us, they really do save time (up to 10 mins) while only costing in most cases a few cents more but no more then a dollar. (it’s about turn over in this industry)
  • If you have a way you like to, then go tell us. We all drive our own way and can’t read minds

Someone Hates CES

Posted in Driving Basics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2011 by HackingVegas

Yesterday was a day for the record books.  It was the start of CES (Consumer Electronic Show). The day started liked any other with thousands of cabs driving like mad trying to get everyone where they needed to be, knowing that they have 120,000 people all needing to get to the same 3 places all at the same time. It’s hard but we seem to do pretty good. The cabs almost feel like they are on auto pilot or just a well oiled machine. Little did we know the good times were about to come to a screeching halt. At about 8 am I see security at the Wynn Las Vegas running out with foam. They start pouring it all over the liquid on the sidewalk. I then hear sirens everywhere and Metro Police is CLOSING THE STRIP!!!!! Well SHIT, that’s the last thing we need. They close about a 1/4 mile right at the main artery leading to the convention center where CES is due to a chemical spill at the entrance of the Wynn.  Traffic backs up everywhere around the closure and the cabs all start to our back roads. Next I hear that another artery going to the convention center is now closed to one lane due to a car crash. We are now down to only 2 of 4 ways to approach the convention.  Drivers start talking about the airport having about 5,000 people needing cabs. So like a colony of ants, we all turn towards the airport and prepare to attack. I’m about 1/8 mile from the airport when I hear about an overturned car going into the airport and we are told we need to approach from the south end only. SHIT X3.  They always say that things tend to happen in 3’s, so knowing that the worst is over and it’s just a waiting game for everything to re-open I do an about-face. I haul ass to the residential parts of Vegas and hide until the all clear is called.

What a way to kick off the busiest weekend of the year. Is this just a sign of whats to come in the new year of better attended conventions? Lets hope not or I may become a much crankier Hack.

News Clip Covering the spill

Happy New Year

Welcome to Las Vegas

Posted in Driving Basics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2010 by HackingVegas

As time went on I learned that my story telling skills and life experience will pay off as I figure out what I’m doing. In my first month I have been a family man, a club goer and everything in between. I find myself making things up about the city and where I’m from to make people feel that I’ve been doing this forever.  Most people fall for it but some start asking me shit about the clubs and what they’re like and which one is better than others.  Damn, what the hell, I’ve never been in these clubs. I’ve never enjoyed the club atmosphere nor the things that go on there, but I have to know because it’s my job. You may ask why I would stress out about this, I mean who care I’m a cab driver. Well let me run this past you.

I’m coming out of the Airport loaded with a couple from the UK. They are asking all the normal questions.  Whats that best hotel, where are the best restaurants and clubs. So I go down my normal list of  The Wynn, Yolies Brazilian Steak House, and hmm, Clubs…….. I don’t know (I still have never been to the clubs out here to this day). I wrack my brain and come up with the one club on the strip that is not part of a hotel, KRAVE. I tell them that KRAVE is the hottest club in town that they have great foam parties and the best music in Las Vegas. They couldn’t be happier and plan to go that night.  Good another fare taken care of the way a new driver does it.

I get sick of telling people random things and having no clue what I am really telling them. I need to do something to get the info I need but I have a family and don’t have the need or the urge to go check out all these places. So what else do I do but recruit my wife (a very understanding woman) to go walk the strip with me and get to know at least the hotels and some of their details.  I have her research all the clubs and I read up on as much as I can. When she goes over the things she has found my mouth drops to the ground and my heart stops.  Come to find out, KRAVE night club is billed as the “only gay club on the strip”.  HOLY SHIT!!!! I’ve sold so many people on that club never knowing what it was. Not that I care it’s a gay club, I always found the gay bars back home some of the best,  but I knew they were gay bars and went there with friends. All I could think of is the couple from the UK who were so excited to go. Oh and the two guys I told to go there because it has the hottest girls in town and they could easily pick up a date there. Lets not leave out the other about 10 to 15 groups I sent there. oops 

What a lesson I learned. But then again, all I could think was what a way to be welcomed to Vegas. I still send many people that way but I have learned to figure out my fares before leading them in the wrong direction.

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