The First Scare

I have more than a few fares under my belt. I’ve had angry, belligerent, rude douche bags in my car. None of them made me uncomfortable, though. Irritated, angry, annoyed, sure. But at no time did I worry about shit actually going down. People these days are just loud mouthed fucktards overall, empowered by most of their bullshit being left to slide by desperate customer service entities and the internet.

Last night I pulled up to a pickup location where at least four police cars were. It was about 2am at a Cracker Barrel off of Westgate in Glendale AZ. There looked to be six or more police standing around. I pulled around the far side of the building and parked in front. I thought, I’m about to have a worker with a story to tell jump in my car and be ready to get the hell out of dodge.

As I wonder what the police are there for, I see a female in a cardinals jersey walking from the group of cops towards my car. “Oh, fuck no,” I thought. Yep. Somebody involved in why the police are there approached.  As she talks to me about being glad I made it to take them home, I see an angry dude being lead over by police.  “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I thought.  I really wanted to drive away. I was a little surprised this was happening. As if I was being passed custody of somebody to take them home.

They get in and the cops wander back to their swarm of cars. I’m hoping the passengers don’t notice me staring longingly at the police while I’m thinking “take me with you, don’t leave me with whatever these people did.”

So, first thing after the cops out of earshot is bullshit.  “We’re going to go to my car and you’re going to follow me for a minute, ok?”  Uhhhh……. What?  Ok, sure. Whatever. Pay me.

We drive 3 blocks. She says something unintelligible under her breath about the destination she put in being the end destination not where I need to follow her to.  She asks if I’ll be ok with that and I just agree because I already don’t want to be in this situation.  So we drive 4 blocks to the interstate onramp and I’m thinking, what the fuck is going on here, actually? I look and notice the guy in the back seat is rolling his head around like he’s beyond trashed and I’m wondering if he’s going to hurl.

Then, a hand lands on my shoulder and grips the cloth of my shirt.  I hear a grumble and am looking at the side of the road ready to pull over quick and get out of the car. I’m not about to get attacked by some dude in the back while I’m buckled in facing forward.

“If you need any water, there are some in the backs of the seats,” I said, pointing to the back of the seat in front of him then around generally to the back of the driver’s seat.  He gives me a dead look that I can’t tell is either anger or not being able to feel reality through the blanket of alcohol.  I’m familiar with both feelings and have no idea which was his case. But he remained uncomfortably silent.

That repeated several times through the course of the almost 30 minute trip. By the 15 minute mark I started to think I was just putting distance, at my own risk, between the driver and this passenger. His grumbling got louder and he grabbed and held onto the cloth of my shoulder for several seconds.

At this point it was closer to stop right in the middle of the road, in the turning lane. I was about to because he was mumbling in spanish and I started to figure out that he didn’t respond to me before because he, maybe, couldn’t speak english. I heard the words puta debil (spelling, means weak whore) and wasn’t sure if he was talking about me or his girl who ditched him with the uber driver to be out in a totally separate vehicle.

This point was about 4 blocks from the destination. I just dealt with it because nothing actually happened besides aggressive gestures, and the shirt grabbing. I’ve worked with mentally handicapped people before and was used to brushing this sort of thing off. Probably way too used to it, in retrospect.

Once we got to the destination, she went past it. I started panicking at this point.  Where is she going? Why did I get stuck babysitting? Couldn’t she have sat just took him with her? What am I doing out here? Why the fuck did I decide to drive strangers around by myself in the middle of the night anyway? I’m fucking stupid.

It was only a couple blocks but it felt more like a couple miles. We turned into an apartment complex and I became even more nervous. We drove around to the back and all I could think was, are we going to have some altercation with this trashed dude right now?

The next 8 minutes or so had me sitting there waiting for her to softly talk him into getting out of the back seat. Using the same word, mostly. I think there were 4 words spoken, total. Not a very great session of convincing somebody of something.

I was happy as fuck to get them out of my car. The saddest thing in retrospect was I gave them 3 stars anyway. Why the actual fuck I didn’t give one star is beyond me. Maybe I was grateful in the moment that it didn’t go much, much worse. Could have gotten physical and involved vomit and damaged property.

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