the passenger who refused, the racketeer who glared, and the reason why this country is in deep shit

one thing i do not miss about having to attend office in the morning (aside from the burning burden of waking up early) is queuing for cabs to take me to my office.

it seems to take forever before i can find one.

but there are rare moments like today when i somehow find myself having to go to the office in the morning.

i saw him again.

he wasn’t one of my favorite people. he wasn’t scary or grumpy-looking or anything like that; but there is just a touch of misplaced sinisterness in his aura that makes him unlikeable. and the fact that he extort money to either the passenger or the cab driver everytime a business transaction has been established (e.g. the cab driver agrees to bring the passenger to wherever destination she needs to go) makes him even more unpopular.

living in a country where 63% of the people are under the less extreme poverty line, i have gotten used to all kinds of colurum or tactics for people to earn money. the Php50 environmental fee per entry to the islands of boracay (reasoned to be collected for the development and maintenance of the island- kiss my ass.) the aggressive, greedy port hawkers in batangas (who extort a hefty sum of any non-bus transportation that picks up passengers from the port simply because they can do so). the gobbling, rapacious watchers in the manila port who charge vehicles a parking fee per entrance to the port to drop off passengers (they do not care if you park or not but they would expect that since you are being pre-charged for it anyway, you might as well do). cab drivers who would require passengers to pay additional charge on top of the flat rate and the additional rate shown in their meter.

and him, and the likes of him, who mark the public territory as their own money-generating machine.

i did give him money before, everytime i used his services. he would hail empty cabs for you and ensure nobody jumps into the passenger seat faster than you can say “fuck”. that was alright; i have no problems with that.

but he would still expect you to pay him, or the cab driver to do so, even if you found the cab on your own simply because the cab stopped to pick you up there, where he can see you.

i refused to give anything to him since then. i found it preposterous; it doesn’t matter if it was just Php5 or Php10. one has to earn one’s keep, really. my father does and fuck it, he’s still underpaid.

it happened today, again. he glared at me when i told him i am not giving him anything. he didn’t do anything for me. i hailed the cab on my own; he was busy hailing other cabs for other people. the cab driver, however, refused to argue and gave him the money instead.

in the end, i paid the cab driver what was on the meter plus three times what he gave the man. the driver did not require it of me; i gave it freely because he didn’t ask.

and although, it cost me more than it would have if i just paid him what was on the meter and give the man the money he did not deserved, i didn’t feel like being ripped off. it is always nice to give people their due and something more on top of it when it doesn’t feel like an obligation.

there goes the psychology of me.

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