2009 has been full of firsts for me. Well recently I had another first on my trip to Minneapolis for the Table Talk Event. I was able to ride into a taxi. I know, you are thinking “what? You have never been in a taxi?” And I have honestly never rode in one. There was never a need to.
Well my recent experience was an interesting one. To the point I tweeted out what the cab number was because I was starting to panic. Basically after arriving at the airport I was directed to an area where there were a bunch of taxis waiting to take people to their destination. To me, that seems pretty handy because I thought I would have to just call a random cab company. The driver seemed nice to me. He grabbed my luggage and opened my door for me. After I got in the taxi I gave him a piece of paper that General Mills gave me. It had the addresss of the Marriott on it. The driver said it be no problem. He entered the address into a gps system that was on the dashboard. Then we were on our way. Or so I thought. The driver decided that the directions were not correct so he decided to pull over to the side of the freeway. During this time he began to enter the address at least four seperate times. He turned around and asked me where the Marriott was. I made a wierd face because I thought he was the driver so he should have some type of idea. I told him I have never been to Minneapolis so I did not know. He sort of sighed and went back to entering the address. He kept saying this did not make any sense. Now all this time I am tweeting. Unfortunately my phone was not giving me all the response tweets. If I would have saw them, I could have given the driver directions. After a little over 10 minutes he started driving again so I thought he found the directions. Not even five minutes later he pulled over again. He kept saying that this address was wrong and did not exsist. He started to ask me what should he do. That is when I started to panic! I asked him to just take me back to the airport but he did not answer me. He tried to call the taxi company and tell them he need help, that he was with a customer. That is what scared me. I just figured if you ask the driver to take you somewhere that he would. I was not sure what to do. I did not want to say the wrong thing to someone I did know in a city I was not familiar with. I was just not feeling very safe.Unfortunately they hung up on him. Finally he started driving again but the gps gave him directions to an abandoned lot that was clearly not the Marriott. He then tried to tell me that this was my hotel and I just broke down. I tried to keep calm but I ended up having a panic attack. I was scared and crying and having problems breathing. It was not good at all. Then he starts freaking out saying “What is wrong with you? I did not just put you out! Why are you crying?” This did not help at all! I was pretty proud of my self for not breaking down earlier because my anxiety level was high. I think what put me over the top is when I kept telling him this was not my hotel. Some people may think I over reacted but I have social anxiety and suffer from panic attacks. I did not feel safe and was trying very hard to make the best and remain calm. I just wanted to get to the hotel. Eventually he approached someone who was riding a bike down the road and got directions. I could not get out fast enough once we were at the Marriott!
I knew I would be sending an email and this morning I did. This is what I wrote:
On August 20, 2009 I was in Minneapolis and was sent to a taxi to take to my destination. This was my first trip to Minneapolis as well as my first time in a taxi cab. I did not expect much of a problem because I presented the driver with a paper that had the address of the Marriott Minneapolis West on it. He entered it into the gps and we were on our way. At least I thought. He soon pulls over on the freeway and enters the address again. And again and again. He tells me the address does not exist. I assure him that it must because I am on my way to a blogger’s mixer and other bloggers have made it to the Marriott already. We sit another 20 minutes, he attempts to call his company for help but they hang up for him. He starts to drive again. Once again he pulls over on the side of the freeway. He asks me where is the hotel. I explain I do not know, this is my first visit here. He tries to enter an address into the gps he says there is no such address. I ask him to please just take me back to the airport. He ignores me. He then starts to drive again after entering an address into the gps again. I assume we are on the way to the hotel. While driving he seems very confused . He pulls up to a hotel that clearly shows an address that is not that of the Marriott. I point this out. He tells me, well this is where the gps told me to turn. What do you want me to do? This is when I burst into tears. This is my first time in a cab but I assumed the driver that I am paying who lives here will take me where I need to go and not just drive around aimlessly. He drives again to an abandoned lot and says I don’t know what to do. This is making the entire experience very frightening and he still will not return me to the airport. I did not feel safe at all! Finally he asked someone riding a bike where the Marriott was and this person gave him directions. This entire experience was scary and unbelievable. I would have never thought that if I asked to be taken somewhere that the driver would just refuse. I was not given a receipt even though I signed one after I paid. I did not know what to do once I got to the hotel, I just wanted out!
I receieved an email from the assistant manager of passenger services from the Metropolitan Airports Commission within an hour. I was surprised because I did not really expect any type of response. He was apologetic and concerned. Throughout the day we were able to talk back and forth about my entire experience. He talked with driver and assured me that something like this would not happen again. And I believe him. He really listened to what I had to say and did not blow me off. I liked that.
You would think that I would never, ever get in a taxi again and I will admit that was my first thoughts. But after thinking about I realize I just need to find a better way to approach the situation. I like to travel and I am sure I will have to get in another taxi eventually. In the future I will have a print out of my own with directions from the airport to my hotel. If I am attending an event, I will try to connect with someone before hand to ride with so that I am not alone.
I am happy that I decided to send an email, it helped me to feel a little better and not so much like no one cares.