I was crossing Park and 86th on my way to Panera at 6 a.m. waiting for a cab to pass. At that hour you need to be careful since drivers don’t expect to see you.

After idling a few seconds, I look on the driver’s side and there’s no one there. Did he break down…run out of gas. It was dark so it really didn’t look as if anyone was behind the wheel.

On closer inspection, I see a middle-aged Indian man slumped in his seat. Did he have a heart attack? Was he shot? This is New York folks, everything is a potential headline.

I go up and bang on the window. Like a dummy at a carnival, he sits up shocked but alert, rolls down the window and says, “Where to lady?”

I kid you not.

I become incensed with his casual attitude over falling asleep at the wheel.

“You fell asleep while you were driving…do you know that?”

“I work all night…give me a break lady,” he says like a whiny kid.

“What if you had a passenger…if you’re this tired, you need to at least pull over.”

“Do you need a ride or not?”

“No I do not.” He sped off.

I thought about him as I mainlined coffee like a meth addict. Was this a chronic problem with cab drivers I knew nothing about?

How many times after working late have I jumped into the back of one just like his, never giving thought to his physical condition.

I then softened a bit thinking, he probably has a family…sends money back to India. The poor guy has no choice but to work. But when does responsibility kick in? You’re supposed to be taking care of people, along with yourself. God forbid he drove off the road at full speed with someone in the back. A kid maybe, and you see them in a clusters coming home at the same hour as you’re getting up.

I realized I was beating a dead horse obsessing over something I could do so little about, so I did what I always do under the circumstances.

I prayed.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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32 Responses to Taxi

  1. micklively says:

    Did you pray for adequate legislation to protect employees, customers and other road users? And did you pray to the supernatural or to someone who can enact such law?


  2. pmahaney says:

    And now I know why I will not ride in a cab.


  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    When my sweetie was in his late 20s and a total work-a-holic he fell asleep at a red light. I couldn’t believe it! We had just been talking. I made him switch places with me at the first opportunity. Susannah, what if that cabbie has sleep apnea? How dangerous would that be?


    • Something tells me there’s no screening going on to be a cab driver. As long as you pass a driver’s test and can afford the incidentals which are not cheap: license, insurance…your own cab if you have that kind of dough…sleep apnea I’m betting doesn’t make the cut.


  4. Elle Knowles says:

    It’s scary sometimes when I’m driving and find myself drowsy. One little nod-off and you can do yourself in and maybe someone else! He wasn’t going to do his family a bit of good under the wheels of a bus. Hope your prayers worked for him. ~Elle


  5. Now in addition to watching out for terrorists and axe murderers, I can to keep an eye out for dozing cabbies! Yikes!


  6. I know this is a problem for truck drivers, but I hadn’t thought of taxi drivers. That’s a scary thought, to think they might be dozing off as they’re driving you somewhere. I know how I can get when I’m super drowsy. I always feel bad for night taxi drivers. Not an easy job.


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