I heard a few days ago about a holdup case involving an MGE cab driver. It was reported in GMA 7’s news on TV. Since I don’t have the tube at home, it was just funny to hear that story from a driver of a white cab (which I don’t usually prefer taking) while on a ride home at 10 PM. (What a way to comfort your passenger!) That saddened me since MGE is among the few taxi cabs that I trust especially since I often go home late from a gig or from the office.

And so with that news in mind, I did become a bit suspicious of MGE cabs. Though the following day, while rushing to my gig at Discovery Suites, I had no choice but to take a cab. And yes, I got on an MGE cab and felt a bit nervous about it but I was such in a hurry to take time and choose another cab, so off we went.

I wanted to keep quiet until the ride was over and done with but the driver initiated the talk and you guessed it right, about the holdup incident involving their cab company. So I obliged to the conversation while trying to ensure my safety (jotting down the plate and contact numbers, memorizing what he looks like, just in case). But the guy had a point and a very good one at that. He shared that he’s a family man and that he had been faithful in his job since day one. He made sure that his requirements were complete and even beyond what was asked of him. (He said that a baranggay clearance is all it takes to land a job at the company and on that, he himself was surprised.) He paid all the dues required of him, maintained his unit well, and worked to meet his boundary—all these because he had a family to feed. It just saddens even maddens him that with one man’s sacrilege, 600+ other taxi drivers who do their job well had to suffer the consequences of decreased earnings and lost trust from customers.

He goes on to say, “If only I had a rank and say at the company, I’d tell them to up the standards for hiring drivers.” Turns out that the delinquent driver had drug addiction problems. “A surprise drug test would greatly help and if only our boss would invest in redeeming our company’s name through the news, it would remove the fear from our customers. Ang hirap kasi sa aming mga taxi driver, pag may maling nagawa broadcast agad yan, pero pag may mga mabuti kaming ginagawa, parang balewala lang.” I was amused at this man’s thoughts. He spoke like someone who studied sociology. But at the same time, I felt for him, and the many other taxi drivers who are faithful with their jobs. Indeed, these people have been stigmatized for long because of a few who relentlessly soil their name.

After that conversation, I find myself still trying to strike a balance between being wise for my own safety or caring for the rights of these people. It is a hard task and I need wisdom on this. For now, I’ll just agree with that manong driver. I really do hope that all taxi companies would raise the bar for hiring drivers.