The cab driver insisted I leave his taxi.
“No,” I replied. “I’m going to sit here and I’m going to talk to you.”

I could have easily left and found another taxi that would take me to Hilton Sentral from Jalan Raja Chulan. But perhaps I was looking for a challenge. Perhaps I was annoyed that the cab driver wanted to take advantage of innocent passengers.

“Hilton Sentral, please,” I’d said to him as I entered his vehicle.
“Fifteen ringgit,” was his reply.
I asked him to use the meter but no, he wanted fifteen ringgit for the trip.
When I refused to leave his cab he began shouting.
The gist was basically “if you’re so clever you show me the way”.
“Mr S,” I said to him “why you want to tipu tipu?”
This improved his mood no end and whilst he continued yelling, I calmly took down his details. He didn’t care, he said, as he knew people in the transport department.

“You show me the way lah,” he snarled. “Otherwise, you say I go wrong way.”
At first I was flummoxed. Which way do I go? Was he going to get the better of me. Then I realised that I still knew some of the routes around Kuala Lumpur.

“Go to Bank Negara roundabout. Then Mahameru highway. That’ll take you to Sentral.”
We got to the Hilton a few minutes later. No traffic as it was just after Chinese New Year.
By this time our courageous taxi driver had calmed down considerably.
The fare was RM9.20. I offered him RM10 but he gave me change of RM1.
He tapped my shoulder in a friendly way and smiled sheepishly.
“No hard feelings,” I said and left the taxi.

A friend said I took a real risk as the cab driver might have assaulted me. Perhaps if I’d know that, I’d have hopped out straight away or agreed to his set fare.
The irony of my experience didn’t escape me.
Just before my encounter with this cabbie, I’d just taken a cab from PWTC to Jalan Raja Chulan.
The fare was RM6. I passed him RM10 and told him to keep the change.
I do tip honest taxi drivers fairly generously. But with this dishonest one, I took the challenge of keeping him honest.
Perhaps it wasn’t the right thing to do?

A few days ago, I hopped into one of those blue taxis from KLCC. The price was steep.
A RM6 was already on the meter (was I being cheated here?) not to mention a RM2 fee to the KLCC concierge. The meter worked a lot quicker than on the normal cabs and the total charge to PWTC came to RM23!
This I discovered was an Executive taxi. It was definitely more plush and the air con worked well.
But I think I would have crazily traded this ho-hum experience for my jangling jaunt with that friendly dishonest cabbie to KL Hilton.

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