Thursday, October 07, 2010

It Continues...

A previous comment shot down a few of my solutions as unworkable and too expensive for cab companies to follow.

Lo and behold, this story awaited me.

What's it going to take to make some real changes? The original story that I quoted yesterday touted "stricter background checks" for taxi drivers, yet further down in the story the police claim that legitimate cab drivers haven't been attacking and robbing passengers.

So what the fuck is anyone actually doing? Nothing, as usual.

My previous post suggested tangible solutions for real problems that are facing Athens, the cab companies, and their passengers. A girl was raped Wednesday night. There's a number of other rapes that have happened in previous least that we know about.

What would have happened if cabs were more easily recognizable? If they could only pick people up at designated stops downtown, patrolled by police officers or legitimate security? If each cab was required to have a backward facing camera in operation to show the driver and their passengers?

I think you would find that police would have actual leads to follow for violence that happens in cabs. They would have a picture of the suspect to start their investigation from for things like what happened Wednesday night to that girl.

A few years back, I found an underaged girl on the sidewalk after 2am, drunk and completely unable to take care of herself. As she sat half conscious on the curb on the sidewalk, I rooted through her purse, found her phone and called everyone on her recent call list. She hardly even noticed what I was doing. Her "friends" either didn't pick up the phone, or said they were too drunk to come get her.

I won't even start on everything that was wrong with that situation, but suffice to say, I shooed away several police officers trying to "investigate" - they surely would have taken her to jail for being underaged - and finally hailed a cab down sometime before 3am. Putting her in the cab and making the driver wait while I took a cell phone picture of his license, and then another close up photo his face, I gave him $20 and a promise (or threat, depending on how you look at it) to find him if anything happened to this girl while he drove her home. I left a note in her purse telling her what happened, and got her phone number from her phone as well.

I gave the girl a call the next day to make sure she was ok, and she was. She was terribly embarrassed and didn't remember a thing, but that was alright with me. Our conversation was over quickly, and I never heard from her again.

I'm glad things turned out alright, but the point is this girl left herself vulnerable to anyone. She's lucky that the perfect stranger that happened to come across her was me. When you're completely helpless and downtown and leave yourself to the mercy of a stranger, anything can happen.

I also wish I didn't have to take the steps I did in order to feel halfway comfortable that the cab driver bringing her home wouldn't pull off in a dark parking lot and have his way with her. Even though I had what I needed to find him if something happened, there was no way for me to know the minute-by-minute happenings in that cab. I could only hope for the best.

Which is why I challenge do something about this obvious problem and to bring some actual solutions to the table instead of half-assed newspaper puff-pieces that get printed up to make everyone think that something is being done, when actual people are being hurt every single day that no legitimate change is made.


At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bravo ADG. I am inspired by your actions.

It continues to surprise me how kids will drink themselves under the table to the point where they can't even stand up. When I first came to Athens, I indulged, oh yes to extremes, but never to the point where I couldn't even function. Even today, I can't recall a night where this happened.

Kids, be smart and have a plan to get home.

At 3:04 AM, Anonymous Mandy! XD said...

You're a great person.

This reminds me of one night, I found a boy passed out on a bench outside my friend's dorm. He lost his ID and couldn't scan himself in. My friend and I tried to carry him off the bench-- he was dead weight, so it was almost impossible. He finally stood on his own and we walked him to his hallway (he was barely coherent, but kept saying four, four, so we assumed he meant he lived on the fourth floor) and his friend found him and babysat him.

I've never been in the situation the girl has been in. Either way, there's still risk sober and with friends. I learned this the hard way. Drunk people, especially men, are dangerous.

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really glad someone like you stepped in to take care of that gir, but maybe you should of let the cops arrest her and take her to jail. You wouldn't have had to worry if she was in safe hands with the cabbie and she would have learned a better lesson by having to spend the night in jail, paying a fine, and having a mark on record. That way, she would think harder about consequences the next time she decides to get that drunk. Sometimes helping someone out doesn't really help in the end. I bet she was right back at it the very next weekend. Good job anyway.

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