I have sort of a love-hate relationship with cabbies. Love the convenience. Hate the bigotry that leaves me on the street suffering from HWB -- hailing while black. My affliction developed in New York where I developed rules to ensure that my dignity would not be lowered every time I raised my hand to hail a cab. Being black could keep me from getting a cab. After reading Petula Dvorak’s maddening column today in The Post, being gay is enough to get me booted from a cab in Washington.
Christopher Holloway and Ari Fredge grabbed a cab at the corner of 17th & P in the Dupont Circle section of the District, which is the gayest neighborhood on earth. Ok, I’m kidding. But as Dvorak points out, you can’t get any gayer than that intersection in the District — except for U St. & 9th on Friday and Saturday nights, but I digress.
Holloway and Fredge told Dvorak that after getting in the cab, they shared a little post-dinner peck. And that was enough for the cabbie from Grand Cab taxis (they’re the mint green ones rolling around town) to boot them from the back seat. “My cab is not a bed,” the driver reportedly said. “You cannot have sex in my cab!” As if that insult weren’t enough, the deranged hack demanded they pay the $6.35 on meter. Holloway and Fredge refused and called the cops. They didn’t get the driver’s name or cab number. But they filed a report with the D.C. Office of Human Rights, which has a bead on the cabbie. He could face suspension or revocation of his license. Whoever he is, he must be held accountable. And Grand Cab company ought to think about sensitivity training for its drivers.
This is 2011 in a city with a long-established and vocal gay community and where same-sex marriage is legal. If the cab drivers can’t handle two men or two women showing simple affection to each other — as straight couples do all the time — they should choose a less public profession. Customers should neither be subjected to nor have to pay for bad or disrespectful service, no matter who they are or who they love.