Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I tell you this story not to worry you, but to give you an idea of the most horrible kind of taxi driver.

You see, in Korea, taxi's are wicked cheap, making them a staple in everyday life. Most of the time the drivers are pretty nice. I've taken up to offering them a piece of "American gum" because it seems to ease the language barrier. They laugh, they try to talk to you in English, they tell you about their families and ask why you're not married. Quite exhilarating convo.

But the other night I met the worst of all the taxi drivers. He is, for the point of this story, called Sa-tan.

I had been up in Seoul for the night, enjoying a rather entertaining evening, when after a series of unfortunate events I missed the final train down to my city. By probably less than a minute.

Welcome to my life.

At this point I had three options.
1. Stay with my friend in Seoul for the night
2. Find a cheap hotel/hostel and stay there
3. Taxi back to my city

Seeing as the next day was one of two Saturdays I'll have to work my entire year here, it was pretty vital for me to get back to P-taek (my city) by 8:15 am the following morning. This would have put my departure time at approx 6:30 am, which is all but too early. I'd rather stay up late and wake up early than the opposite.

It would've been possible, but I also had to finish an application online by the morning.

(procrastinating is bad)

Therefore, option #3 seemed to make the most sense for my situation. I knew it'd be expensive, but I also knew I had to be home. Suck.

I leave the station and outside there is a line of cabs waiting to take people home. They stand outside yelling places they'd drive to and blah blah blah. I approach one and tell him where I need to go. We agree on a price. I get into his cab.

He goes back outside to try and get more riders. They do this to make mad cash. He sees me open my door to leave and runs up to me, holding up his fingers to indicate to wait for a few minutes.

I get out of the car and tell him I won't wait. I will find another cab. He gets upset with this, but I walk away. Three other drivers run after me. I negotiate with them and get the same price as before.

We start on the trek down south. The cab driver is CRAZY. He drives super fast (I clocked him at 185 km/hr) and I fear a little bit for my life. But we get to my city and I'm alive.

I give him the previously agreed on price. I had even written it on my hand to ensure that we both knew the price (remember, we were saying the numbers in both English and Korean and sometimes it gets confusing).

He tells me I need to give him more money. We took a toll road and I had to pay for it.

"Oh, but no", I say. "We agreed on this!" (I point to the price on my hand)

He starts waving the paper from the toll booth around. I say I don't care (they understand this because of a famous pop song).

He yells at me. I yell at him. He tries giving me my money back. I throw it on his taxi and start to walk away.

He gets out of his cab.

He grabs me by the shoulders.

I get angry. I almost deck his face in.

I yell at him "Don't you touch me!" and he tells me I need to pay more. I tell him no way. I start walking away again.

He grabs my shoulder again and threatens to call the cops.

I tell him to do it. We'll see who they side with.

He comes up to me again and before he lays a hand on me I push him away.

I decided to end it right then and there so I throw five more bucks at him and storm off. Way less than he wanted, but apparently it was enough to make him satisfied.

But yeah I was really angry. Luckily I had him drop me off a street away from my apartment so I felt better about that. And it gave me time to blow off some steam. I mean, obviously he was already charging me more than he should have, so to have the audacity to ask for more money? I was not having it. And he physically touched me. If he had done it one more time I would've straight up pounded his face in.



San Ba Po said...

uhhh... do you need a taser? Beat him up next time for touching you.

Kristalyn said...

Cindy! A taxi driver assaulted you late at night!? Be careful, that is so rude that he wanted more money after you already agreed on a price!