April 18, 2008
April 18, 2008 – Lenny
So let me tell you about Lenny… Lenny’s been with the company for some time now, as is reflected by his attitude. There seems to be a correlation between the amount time a driver has been with the company and their morale. A positive correlation I might add. And lets not get a positive correlation confused with a positive attitude. At any rate, suffice it to say that Lenny isn’t too happy with things here at Cortez Cab.
Lenny isn’t exactly an ideal employee, in Catherine’s eyes at least. I have to admit that it’s becoming less and less clear exactly what that is nowadays… Lenny gives me a good laugh though. I like him and he’s a nice guy. Not to be confused with an honest guy though.
I picked up a lady from 123 Tangerine Avenue the other day, who we'll call Mrs. Smith. Nice lady. Our conversation quickly centered on a particular driver.
Mrs. Smith: Hello, how are you.
Me: I’m well. Where are you off to?
Mrs. Smith: I’m going to the airport. Southwest please.
Mrs. Smith: You seem like a nice driver. Who’s the ***** guy who drives the van?
Me: That’s Lenny. Why do you ask?
Mrs. Smith: He tried to steal $100 from my son last time he went to the airport.
Me: That doesn’t surprise me in the least. Unfortunately Lenny is known for that sort of thing.
Mrs. Smith: He took my son to the airport and was given $100. (The fare was probably about $24 at this point. My son gave asked for $70 back. He said that he got out of the taxi and started to walk to Lenny’s window after getting his bags out and Lenny just drove off. My son called me what happened and I called the company and told them to send the taxi that picked up my son back to my house so that I could have a word with him. When the driver got here I told him that I would take the entire hundred dollars back. He didn’t say anything. He just gave me the money and walked back to his car.
Me: Yeah, our boss is well aware of the behavior of some of our employees. I apologize for that. I can’t believe that he though that your son wouldn’t notice.
Mrs. Smith: He stole that money.
Me: I’m sorry about that. Here’s my card, so if you want you can call me directly.
Mrs. Smith: Thank you. I will do that.
Another dissatisfied customer. Lenny’s lucky that she didn’t call Catherine, or the police for that matter. In addition to most likely violating some company policy (Although I suppose you could plead ignorance on this one since there are no defined company policies) and being dishonest, Lenny committed theft.
Why is there no formal written company policy anyways? I’ve never heard of such a thing. It’s like Catherine just makes up rules on the fly. Also, then an employee can’t say that something isn’t violating company policy – because there isn’t one! It’s purely discretionary. If something is completely discretionary I would think that it might make sense to have a someone who isn’t off balance making judgment calls.
One time one of our drivers was pulling into one hotels when a man on bicycle was flying down the street not paying attention and crashed right into the side of the taxi. The bicycler hit it so hard that the front fork on his bike broke. The police came, it was quite a scene. The bicycler was adamant that it was not the taxi drivers fault. Oh did I mention that the guy on the bicycle was drunk?
None of this dissuaded Catherine however. How did she react? She reacted by castigating the driver for not being more careful and tried to instate a new policy so that drivers couldn’t cross the street to go into the hotel drive anymore. They would have to leave the taxi stand, drive up the street to the stop light, wait there until they got their green arrow (which can take 3 minutes sometimes), make a U-turn, and turn into the hotel. How fucking silly is that? And how does that insure that an accident would be avoided anyways? I would have to think that a U-turn is a more dangerous maneuver than a left turn. I think most rational people would agree. All the drivers got a good laugh about this one. I don’t think one single driver complied.
(I couldn't find a map that was big enough and not color coded. The coding is due to the fact that it's a zoning map. Just ignore that.)
Also, the hotel has a reputation for being impatient, and if we aren’t able to get there immediately then they are likely to just put the fare in an out of town cab. This is illegal because we are the only company that currently is allowed to pick up within the city limits of Cortez. Not because we have a “monopoly” as our mushy headed owner believes.
This is not to say that all of our drivers play by the rules either, although I believe that the misconduct on our sided is due in large part to situation such as the one at the hotel.
When Lenny drops someone off at the airport he looks to see if anyone else needs a ride. This is strictly forbidden. Not only by Catherine, but by the City of San Diego as well. Taxi drivers need a special permit to pick up at the airport, and probably an additional one to pick up in San Diego (Since the airport is within the city limits). If Lenny doesn’t find anyone at first glance he’ll simply circle the terminal until he finds a fare.