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Letter: 'People that drive cabs are more than just taxi drivers'

Cruz Cab manager shares her thoughts about what it means to be a cab driver

SooToday received the following letter from Nikki Bourdage, manager of Cruz Cab, addressing some misconceptions people may have about cab drivers following a recent article regarding the handling of incidents involving Cruz Cabs by city police:

I am writing today to clarify a few misconceptions that some people may have about all cab drivers in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Taxi drivers work long hours ensuring that our customers get to where they need to. They drive in conditions that the whole city shuts down for, and they do it without complaint. They ensure that the elderly get to and from the car safely, they carry their groceries into their homes, they assist them up and down stairs, and help steady them when needed.

There are drivers that make sure to show up a little early to a time call so they can shovel a path to the car when it is stormy. These elderlies are your great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles that need assistance when you are unable to transport them yourself. The taxi drivers of Sault Ste. Marie treat your family members as if they were their own.

There are taxi drivers that have noticed something was wrong and insisted the customer go to the hospital instead of the mall. The customer was showing signs of a stroke and that taxi driver saved the customers life. There are regular customers that have confusion and sometimes forget where they are or where they are going, and the taxi drivers take it upon themselves to ensure that everyone is aware of where they dropped that customer off and where they live so that the customer gets home safely. Taxi drivers help move the elderly to nursing homes when no one else can assist, and they comfort them through this tough transition in their lives when they feel alone.

Taxi drivers also carry some of your most precious cargo… children.

Whether it be due to a medical condition, behavioural issues, a trauma-caused condition, or just the simple fact that you, for whatever reason, are unable to transport your child to school, taxi drivers do it with a friendly greeting. They listen to the stories – how their day was, what they want from the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause, how much they love their families, what they did over the weekend and holidays – and they do it in the same way they would if it was their child or grandchild in the back seat. They listen to their favourite radio stations, they look at what they made in class that day, and they make the child feel as safe and secure with them as possible.

Taxi drivers also transport people with disabilities who have no other way to get around. The drivers do not belittle them or treat them badly, they assist where needed, they have conversations, they chat and they also listen when the customers are having an off day and just need someone to talk to.

Taxi drivers also ensure that your friends and family get a safe ride home when they have had a little too much to drink. The drivers help them in the car, they listen to the stories of the night, what made them happy, what upset them and sometimes they let them sleep until they arrive at the destination, then ensure they get into the house safely.

Taxi drivers get spit on, assaulted, robbed, thrown up on, screamed at, things thrown at them, must clean up vomit, urine, spilled beverages, clean up garbage shoved in the doors and under the seats, and yet next time you need a ride, they will be there.

These people that drive cabs are more than just taxi drivers. They are people who have families to support the same as anyone else, they are compassionate people who care about others and go above and beyond their pay and expectations to ensure the customer is safe and gets where they need to go and provide any required assistance without complaint or judgement.

So, the next time you feel the need to belittle the taxi driver, keep in mind that they provide a service that is a necessity of life for some people. One day it could be you or a loved one who will need the services that taxi drivers provide and they will be there providing it every day because they are caring, compassionate, understanding, good-hearted people who enjoy helping people who are in need.

Thank You,
Nikki Bourdage
Manager of Cruz Cab