I was upgraded to a first-class fight – and bit a cab driver in Honolulu
It pays to be nice. That statement, unsurprisingly, is related to my first-class flight, rather than me biting a cab driver.
The flight was San Francisco to Honolulu on Virgin America, and it was running two and a half hours late. Then they announced it was over-booked, and they were looking for four volunteers to stay overnight in a hotel in San Francisco, fly out in the morning in first-class, and receive $500 of Virgin flight travel vouchers. Pick me! Pick me!
However, they said the flight wasn’t exactly over-booked, but it was to do with the weight limit, and they may or may not need me to stay behind. No worries – whatever.
After they finished boarding the first-class people, they called me up. They didn’t need to leave me behind, but had changed my middle seat to a window seat, and let me board before the rest of cattle class. Nice!
Just before take-off they came down and said, sorry, we do need to put someone in that seat – please gather your belongings and come to the front of the plane. I said I had a carry-in bag in the bin above, and they said, “It’ll be fine”, which was a little odd. No way was I leaving it on the plane while I stayed back in San Fran.
It was “fine” because I wasn’t staying back – for offering to give up my seat, I (and the other three volunteers) were all upgraded to first-class. Sweet! Great start to the final leg of my journey. I arrived in Honolulu well-fed and well-pampered.
THE BITING OF THE CABBIE
I couldn’t get reception at the airport to call Lyft (thanks once again, T-Mobile), so jumped in a cab. The driver barely spoke two words the entire trip, after the initial discussion of where I needed to go, and was very curt when I attempted to engage him in conversation. It was an uncomfortable ride.
Upon arrival at the Air BnB he took my bags out of the trunk, still not saying anything. I handed him a credit card.
You’re kidding, right? I’d just touched down at an International Airport, in the year 2018 – 60 years – SIXTY YEARS – after the introduction of BankAmericard (which became Visa in 1976), and this cabbie was telling me he only accepted cash. I didn’t have any cash.
He told me it was my fault for not asking him at the airport if he took credit cards. I said no one asks if a cab driver accepts credit cards, because generally they all do. I said if he doesn’t accept credit cards, he should have told me before I got in the cab. He said no cab drivers in Honolulu accept credit cards. I said that’s ridiculous – not everyone arrived in Hawaii carrying cash.
We went around in circles for a few minutes – I was struggling to see a way past the impasse – he insisted I paid cash; I didn’t have cash. He eventually said he would drive me somewhere to get cash out – and I would have to pay for the trip. It was nearly one o’clock in the morning, I’m in an unknown city, and a man who’d made me feel distinctly uncomfortable was offering to drive me “somewhere” to get cash out? Oh, hell no.
I told him he could come back in the morning, after I’d had a chance to get cash out. He said he would keep my credit card. I said there was no way I was letting him drive off with my credit card. He said he would not give it back to me. I tried to take it off him, and he scratched my face. That was when I bit his hand to try and force him to let it go – and also to show that he wouldn’t take me down without a fight – and I was prepared to fight dirty to save myself if I had to.
By this point I was terrified. This entire ordeal had gone on for seven or eight minutes, I was on a dark street with a man rapidly turning violent – and I was starting to shake. I took my camera out, and took photos of the cab ID and the car’s plate. “What are you doing?” he demanded.
“Gathering evidence for the police, who I’m about to call.” I took my phone out. Instantly, he produced a credit card machine and processed the payment. But it wasn’t over then – he kept my credit card and continued to berate me until I pretended to dial a number, and held the phone to my ear. He finally gave me my credit card back, and drove off.
According to the very professional looking website for TheCAB company – “Our corporate mission is to give our island community and visitors the best and demand-responsive taxi service.” Really?
According to the same website, “We accept all major credit cards and Cabbux.” Yes, this driver did – but not until he’d terrorised a sole female traveller for over 10 minutes at one o-clock in the morning.
It’s the day after as I’m writing this, and I’ve checked TheCAB reviews out on Google. They have 33 one star reviews out of 42. This company is a disgrace, and I can’t understand why, with so many appalling reviews and such a bad track record, they are even allowed to operate from the airport. Intimidated and attacked by a cab driver in Honolulu was not how I’d thought my Hawaiian holiday would start. On the plus side – it can only get better!
PLEASE SHARE AND WARN ALL TRAVELLERS TO HAWAII ABOUT USING TheCAB COMPANY!!!