I Tried To Press Charges Against My Misogynist Cab Driver

nyc cabIt was somewhere between two and three in the morning when Christoffer and I stood on a block in Brooklyn fighting about something for the 100th time. We had been at Glasslands celebrating my new job (The Grindstone!), and somewhere along the line things went awry.

As usual, it ended with me running and crying in one direction, and he walking off in the other. This is it, I thought. I’m never going to see again. This, of course, true of any addiction, was not the end.

I called my friend who lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and asked if I could come over. I knew she’d be up and she was. I hailed the first cab I saw and was on my way to being comforted.

I was still a mess; I couldn’t get it together and the tears were unstoppable. When the cab driver realized I was crying, he yelled at me. At first, I was taken aback. I couldn’t understand if he was joking or not, and honestly, I was too focused on my own drama to even pay attention. But when he said it a second time, it was quite clear.

“Don’t you get those disgusting woman tears all over my cab.”

“What?” I asked.

“You heard me,” he snapped. “I don’t want disgusting woman tears all over my cab.”

I may have been bawling, but I was doing so into a tissue and planned to suck it up and use my sleeve once my tissue was thoroughly drenched and useless.

“I’m not!” I yelled back with the same volume he used.

“Are you yelling at me?” he asked. “You get into my cab and you yell at me?”

“Pull over,” I said. “I’ll walk from here.”

“I’m not pulling over! You and your woman tears got into my cab and I want my full fare.”

With those words, my sadness shifted to fear. Here he was telling me that I couldn’t get out of his cab, it was close to 3am at this point, and I realized I had to get it together. At the next red light, I jumped out. I was going to fucking walk the last few blocks and I wasn’t going to pay him the measly $5 for his degrading service.

Instead of letting me go, he pulled the cab over and actually came after me. He got in my face and proceeded to yell more about my woman tears and how I was a stupid cunt that thought I was better than him.

“This woman,” he yelled, “thinks she’s better than me! This stupid woman!” I wasn’t sure to whom he was yelling, but he seemed to be making a declaration of sorts for anyone who might be within earshot.

I was stunned as I stared into his cold eyes. Sure, I had been called a stupid woman before, but not like this; not by a stranger in my face yelling it. He was inches away from me and I thought for sure he was going to smack me. Why I didn’t run in that moment, I don’t know. I think it was the sheer shock at the situation.

When I finally came to my senses, I told him to fuck off and turned to walk away. By this point, I had stopped crying and had switched into anger mode. He grabbed my arm, and told me if I didn’t pay him he was going to call the police. He, this man, this cretin, this misogynist, who had just spent the last 10 minutes of his life spewing his sexist and ignorant comments at me, was going to call the cops on me over five fucking dollars.

“I have your cab’s badge number,” I yelled. (I had been smart enough to plug that into my phone right after he told me he wasn’t letting me out.)

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    • http://www.facebook.com/amberjoy.88 Amber Joy Ridgeway

      Oh my God! I’m so sorry that happened to you! I was enraged just reading this post so I can’t imagine how you felt. Thank goodness you got away safely though. And I hope you don’t get down on yourself to hard for not following through with the complaint process completely. It’s obviously designed so that complainants have a very slim chance of any sort of justice.

      P.S. I feel like you should have been well within your rights to press charges against this man for kidnapping as soon you told him to let you out and he refused. I can’t believe no one took this seriously, this guy is obviously going to hurt or kill someone if he continues with his ways.

      • Trish

        I was thinking the same thing. When he followed her down the street, that could be harassment, and when he grabbed her that is assault. Perhaps calling the police on the spot would have done something, but who knows.

    • amy teill

      this would have been good use of voice notes feature on your phone. one of the many examples why feminism is still needed and all of these notions that “women have won already” totally aren’t true. so sorry this happened to you!

    • Jobeans

      Ugh this is terrible. I’ve definitely had many moments where I’ve felt overwhelmed by the inequality around me and powerless. Do you know the name of the cab driver? I would like to avoid him at all costs.

    • fran

      something like this happened to me when i used to live in NYC. got in a town car and realized i didnt have the full 30 dollars (rip off in the first place from uptown to chelsea) he wanted to charge halfway thru the trip, i told the guy i didn’t have money for the whole trip but he refused to stop and said i would go to an ATM to get the rest. well he finally stopped a little early at my final request i didnt have money on my card. i told him then and he started cussing me out of the street calling me a fucking bitch and how i wasted all his time (i was 19 btw) he was so angry i’ve never had anyone look at me that way. HE still got the 17 dollars I had. so i grabbed my bags as fast as i could from his car, he zoomed off. then i sat on the curb and cried, oddly a really nice female cabbie stopped for me and gave me a free ride back and told me it was ok.

    • Tania

      I hate taking cabs because the drivers almost always try to hit on me, and it’s incredibly uncomfortable to spend a ten or fifteen minute ride with a much older man talking about how pretty you are. I don’t think I’m even that pretty, I think they’re just hoping I’ll give it up in exchange for a free ride. :/

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Holy muffins, what a terrifying fucking experience.

    • Shybiker

      What a sad story. I understand your frustration with the complaint system, but wish the bum had been disciplined for his misbehavior.

    • kj

      Totally agree about the terror factor – I have a friend that was stalked in an Ikea who was so terrified that it didn’t occur to her to report the guys until she was out of there and safe. She really regrets no pursuing it.

      But what I really want to know is, is Cristoffer SWEDE?! We get to know his real name?! Or is that just a Swedish sounding pseudonym you chose?