Window on my world — 26 February 2010

I’m beginning to suspect that London cabbies are reviled with the same vigour as bankers, estate agents and MPs (well, maybe not as much as our Members of Parliament). Recently a colleague of mine had his rear window smashed by local children as he sat waiting in a traffic jam in East London. Previously like me he’s had stones thrown at his cab, and had pedestrians hitting his vehicle with their hands as they cross the road.

It also makes you wonder why some Lycra louts of the cycle world get their kicks out of spitting at cab drivers. This Lycra-clad posers cycle up beside cabbies and spit in their face before peddling off, which I personally consider it the most offensive assault possible and rather cowardly when you realise how difficult it is to pursue the obnoxious assailant responsible, I now find myself asking the question, is it a new craze?

The whole practice has me wondering whether they only target cab drivers, like the young vandals who throw stones. Do they maybe mark up their hits on their bike frames, like World War II fighter pilots? Or perhaps it’s an individual avenger who was once wronged by a cab driver who refused to go South of the River and is now wreaking his revenge.

I suppose we could try fitting spittoons on the side of the cab – but well away from the driver’s window of course!

Are we all really so bad?

Poison pen letters are invited to the comments section at the bottom of this post.

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Gibson

(2) Readers Comments

  1. Short of getting hold of one or more of these disgusting people and cross-examining them, it is hard to understand their motives. I note that ambulance crews and fire fighters also often come under attack in circumstances where it is so obvious that they are doing humane work that one cannot understand the motivation behind the aggression.

    Unfortunately, hatred seems to be a strong motivating force for some people. Think, for example, of the persecution of the Jews under the Nazis. I think it doesn’t matter too much to them what the persecuted class is. Once a group of people is chosen, haters go on mindlessly attacking them and deriving a strange satisfaction from doing so.

    I think it helps if the group in question is readily identifiable (ambulance crews, firefighters and, of course, drivers of black cabs) and is distinct from the attacker who can then see them as “other”. If there is a group that you can hate and attack, that boosts your own self-esteem: you feel there is someone in the world more despicable than you are.

    Attacks are cowardly: stone-throwers and bicycle spitters know they have almost no chance of getting caught so this gives them licence. If they thought they would have to stand up in court and explain themselves, they wouldn’t do it.

    I don’t think black cab drivers merit the attacks but that is probably irrelevant because if you take a dislike to someone it is all too easy to find post hoc rationalizations. If we are honest, we admit we have all done that.

    • Thanks for your summation of my post, you really should (if you havn’t already been awarded one) take a philosophy degree.
      I seem to start the debate and you always conclude it brilliantly.
      A bit like some of my customers really.

What do you have to say for yourself?