Last week, I caught a taxi from Midrand to Randburg. As luck would have it, I arrived just as the previous taxi was leaving and had to wait for the entire Quantum to fill up. Thankfully, I had K Sello Duiker and Tracy Chapman to keep me company, so other than hoping I’d make it to Randburg in time, I wasn’t too phased.
About five minutes into the wait, a young man came into the taxi in quite a panic. He needed to be in Craighall by 17:00 and wasn’t even sure about whether or not he was on the right taxi. I wasn’t really paying attention but the old women were being very helpful, as women in taxi tend to be. They were discussing the different taxi routes and the different taxis and making sure that he was on the right taxi, never once asking a taxi driver mind you.
Any-who…the taxi eventually fills up, minus two people and the young man moves to the front seat. The time was now 16:50 so his prospects of getting to his client on time were fading into oblivion. I had no idea at the time, but the young man had offered to pay for the missing two passengers and offered the taxi driver additional money drop him off at the exact address in Craighall on Jan Smuts Avenue. All I saw was him pulling money out and then we were off. And boy were we off!
The taxi driver was driving like a mad man, the young man was sweating like a pig and traffic was horrific, but somehow we managed to get to William Nicole (from Midrand) in under 15 minutes (PEAK TIME)! So the whole way, while contemplating my obituary, I began preparing my impassioned speech (in Xhosa) about how there were other passengers on the taxi as well and how we would not be held ransom to some man who didn’t plan his time adequately and how the driver had a responsibility to all of us and and and…. But as I kept looking at him and hearing him on the phone and watching him repeatedly dry his brow, my heart melted a bit. I had become involved. And so had the rest of the taxi.
As we were getting into William Nicole, still having to go to Fourways, one of the old women shouted that the driver exchange the passengers going to Fourways with the Randburg passengers of another taxi that was stopped on the yellow line (on the off-ramp). Great idea! We all wanted this young man to make it so the driver swerved across three lanes (almost killing us) and exchanged 2 passengers for an overload. But we didn’t mind. We were willing to take one for the team.
Time: 17:25. Place: Randburg taxi rank. Situation: PANIC! We had just been stopped by traffic cops. We cleared the taxi, leaving him with the taxi driver and an eternity to Craighall behind.
As I got off the taxi, wanted to give him my card and ask him to call me to tell me how things went but I didn’t want him to think I was hitting on him (tits in Jozi are a b!tch). Instead, I wished him good luck and told him that next time, he should catch the Gautrain. It goes straight to Craighall.
I guess we’ll never know how that story ended… but this taxi chronicle reminded me of one thing: Taxis are communities and we care about each other. Ubuntu is alive and smiling… on a taxi ride.
Taken from http://vangisafrica.org/ (Vangis taxi chronicles)