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.