Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Okay...I Give Up!

I'm sure all of you have had days when nothing seems to go right, despite best efforts. Yesterday was like that for me. Twice weekly I visit a hospital for a supervised programme of fitness. Believe me when I say that this is not a bow to vanity but a medical necessity, according to both GP and physiotherapist. The machines keep me strong and the stretches and other exercises keep a chronic back problem from becoming painful and debilitating. I pay a monthly fee for this.

In order to get there, I use our local taxi service, which under the ADA, is supposed to provide a small percentage of wheelchair cabs, thus there are six in a fleet of about 400. Our county being amongst the most populated in the country, you can quickly deduce that the demand for for such service far exceeds the available number of vehicles. I organise my weekly trips for all things medical and otherwise a good four to five days in advance and barring the ubiquitous traffic jams, road accidents or breakdowns, things generally go according to plan. I pay for the taxi service.

Yesterday, however, my one o'clock pick up time came and went with nary a peep from a flustered cabbie. By 1:30, I was on the phone with the cab company wheelchair supervisor querying this conspicuous absence. Keys tapped on her keyboard and then she asked if I was calling regarding my return home. When I said that I had never been picked up in the first place, she asked me to hold, please. After reaching all of the drivers, she apologised, telling me that all were in east county, a good forty minutes from me, and she had no-one to dispatch in my direction, but that she would get to the bottom of the mess...

This meant calling the appropriate party at the hospital to re-schedule my appointment. I left two lengthy voice mails. I did not know the hospital phone system was out of order. At four, my phone rang. A rather harried male voice asked if I were ready to depart the hospital for home. When I replied that his colleague had failed to show for the trip to hospital, he quite justifiably said that his supervisor from the taxi company should have advised him about this...

He had been waiting for me to emerge from the cavernous building for almost an hour...

I should add that all drivers can be reached by car radio and mobile phone. Since I was not advised which of them was to take me and that two different drivers would be involved, I could not have taken it upon myself to call the one scheduled for the return home and explain the situation.

When I rang his supervisor and asked what had transpired, she reported that the driver who was to take me in had picked up an extra fare to east county and was not available when he should have been to pick up my scheduled fare. Because of the distance involved, the driver stood to make more transporting someone to east county. He gambled that he would eventually get to me, and lost. I also lost a medical appointment and the chance to re-schedule for what amounted to greed and stupidity.

Such occurrences only serve to remind that I am a mere commodity and that no-one functions out of pride of a job well done, if they ever really did so at all. Passing the buck with impunity has become the rule of the day and no-one is really held accountable to anyone else.

The taxi company owes me more than an apology...Any takers for the bet when I'll see it??

Until Next Time...

15 comments:

Brian Miller said...

ugh. that sucks..yeah wish you could see it...

English Rider said...

Sorry for your frustrating day. I believe most places have some regulatory organization over-seeing taxi licensing etc. I'd go straight to the top, waving the Disability Act banner like a sword, tweaking local news organizations along the way. Failing to receive adequate response "Pronto" would have me on the phone to my state representative. You'd be amazed what they can do with a news worthy abused voter on the line. My problem would become their problem. You better believe it! (But that's just me:).

Alan Burnett said...

A lousy day. Let's hope you have got all of the bad luck out of the way now and a bright, trouble-free Christmas awaits.

nick said...

As you say, greed and stupidity. A cabbie who just saw the chance for some extra cash and grabbed it regardless of your relying on his arrival. Of course the cab company should apologise and compensate you, but will they?

Dash said...

Unfortunately greed is one of the symptoms of the world we live in, that's why it's always a nice surprise when you do come across someone that takes pride in a job well done and is in possession of courtesy, sadly it's few and far between these days. I hope you have called the company since and explained the situation, make them feel ashamed, that just might prompt an apology.
XXX

the walking man said...

Depends on how good of a complainer you are, the next ride should be at the owners expense. when you see it depends on how much of PIA you make yourself.

the fly in the web said...

So depressingly familiar....systems which fall apart and everyone passing the buck.

Kate Hanley said...

What a crappy day! And none of it due to anything you did! Sometimes when I have a bad day, at least part of it can be attributed to something stupid I did but you did everything right. UGH! Hope you got all the bad karma out of the way for the rest of this year and next.

Ian Lidster said...

This sort of disregard for the public has become increasingly typical, alas. How wretched for you.

Megan said...

Supremely frustrating. I hope they make it good.

karen said...

How completely infuriating!!! Hope they give you a free hospital trip next time, which is what I would do if I were the cab company :)

PS - I can totally recommend Skype for international calls, and even more so for you, living in the first world, with great, fast internet!!

Mary Witzl said...

I'd be tempted to go to the press with this too, in the nicest, most reasonable way possible. Messing people about like this just isn't on, and the people who are responsible shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

Sometimes there ARE people who go out of their way to do their jobs well, forgoing material rewards. You don't meet them every day, but when you do, it's so richly satisfying!

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry. It's horrible to feel like that, especially when you're at other people's mercy, as it were, to get where you're going and. well, Live your Life.

I hope this is just one individual being an asshat (who knows, the holidays can make people nutty. It's no excuse, just an observation) and not something more.

Hope your Holidays improve, and you find peace and kindness again in your fellow man (and woman:).

Enchanted Oak said...

Don't give up! Get even! I hope you discussed the situation with the supervisor in one of those wonderful, civil, firm "don't mess with me" tones of voice that some folks can generate.
On the flip side, at times I think we're just randomly assigned to experience chaos, and the best response is acceptance of the fact that it's our turn in the barrel.
Whatever has happened in the interim, I wish you a peaceful and contented Christmas holiday.

Barbara said...

It really does suck when you are at the mercy of someone else for transportation. I'm just glad you weren't out any money and it was more an issue of inconvenience and a loss of the therapy that you needed so badly. It's too bad you can't make a private arrangement with someone to provide ALL your transportation. Sometimes people are more reliable when they know the face of their client/customer.