Here’s a sort of dilemma or, at least, a head-scratching kind of tale.
For reasons too tedious, convoluted and cross-making to recount the chariot of the Panther of News is temporarily indisposed. (The Skoda is knackered, undergoing repairs.)
Thus I had to call a taxi to collect Boy Three from nursery the other day. I phoned our usual company and a car turned up quick as you like. So far, so good.
Then I got into the car. Yuk yuk double yuk. It stank of old smoke. Not just fresh, had a fag with all the windows open, smoke. But old, nasty student flat (in the olden days) crossed with the car of a reporter whose been on stake-out all week.
I’m a former smoker, some of my favourite people smoke – I’m fairly tolerant of it. I’ve lived with smokers. However, by the time we’d gone the four or so miles to nursery I was swallowing hard against the nausea. This taxi was rank.
I toyed with the idea of insisting on a new car and causing a big old fuss, but it was home time and I just wanted to get the whole thing over with.
Later my clothes and Boy Three’s smelled like things used to after a night in the pub. Remember?
The next day I called the taxi firm – mostly because I didn’t want to have such a malodorous trip again – and told the controller what had happened. Very pleasant, she thanked me for reporting it and said she have a word with the driver.
End of the matter as far as I thought and no need to change taxi company.
Then the phone rang.
“It’s about your call.”
“Thanks for reporting it. I’ve had a word with the drivers.”
“And sometimes the drivers get out of their cars for a cigarette and the smell lingers a bit.”
“I know that happens. I know what that smells like and it was nothing like this. This was smoking in the cab.”
“I understand what you’re saying. But, in future, if you ask for a non-smoking cab we’ll make sure you get one where the driver doesn’t smoke so there’s no chance of any smoke smell.”
“Ok? Just ask for a non-smoking car next time.”
Was the taxi company right or wrong? Should I do something? What could I do?
I don’t want to lose anyone his or her job, but in a non-smoking country I don’t want to have to remember to ask for a non-smoking taxi just to avoid a cross-country pong fest.
I'd just ask for a non-smoking car. Easier than trying to prove what you know to be true – and which they can't admit because it would be breaking the law.
By the way, my car smells much better these days. xxx
Ellen Arnison says
You're probably right. And the whole of non-smoking life smells better. x