The Alexandria Traffic and Planning Board last night suspended for 60 days the license of a city taxicab driver who waved a 40-pound snake at a customer last month.
"His name is Pissa, and he will grow to 80 pounds," the driver, El-Din Fouad Attia boasted after the meeting. "I keep the snake in the cab because there is no law against it. Some people bring dogs into my cab and no one complains about that."
Attia showed the five-member board Polaroid pictures of the snake and offered to bring Pissa in for their inspection. "He's in the car right now," Attia said. The board declined the offer.
The board acted on a written complaint by Irene Saunders, a city resident. Saunders wrote that Attia waved the snake at her last Aug. 6 after she and a companion entered his cab at 10:30 p.m. at Washington National Airport.
According to Saunders' letter of complaint, Attia first tried to sell her "beads . . . for $400," and then pulled the snake out of a bag when she declined. When the passengers protested, Attia put the snake back in the bag, Saunders wrote.
The board could have revoked Attia's city taxicab license.But after the driver agreed not to keep the snake in the cab anymore, the board decided by a 3 to 2 vote simply to suspend his license for 60 days.
Voting for the suspension were Ernest P. Martone, James A. Yancey, and James D. Stoop. Voting against were Betty Little and Peter Schmaier.
The city government has been trying for several years to regulate Alexandria's 665 cabs and 1,200 drivers because of "numerous complaints about the conduct of taxicab drivers licensed by the city, according to Michele Evans, assistant to the city manager.