I was in NYC a week ago for work. Me and two of my colleagues from Harrisburg had arrived the night before. We stayed downtown since our work was in the financial district. After finishing our work, we were looking for a cab to take us to Penn station. I saw a cab across the street from where we were and waved for it. The cab stopped and I crossed the street. My two colleagues followed me slowly dragging their suitcases and purses in their high heels. We threw our bags in the trunk and headed for Penn station. I had to make a pit stop in the village on the way to pick up some Rice pudding I had ordered earlier from Rice To Riches. We instructed our plan to the cabbie, he seemed visibly upset, but we couldn’t care less – we were talking about the new project we just kicked off and how excited we were to be a part of it and such.

The cabbie was of South Asian descent- an Indian or a Pakistani or maybe a Bangladeshi. After weaving through the Friday late afternoon traffic we arrived at Rice To Riches. I got down from the cab to pick up the pudding. I got back in with about two tonnes of pudding and my friends seemed in a totally different mood. J whispered to me “The cabbie went complete mental on us and started yelling at us as soon as you got down of the cab. ” She said she will give the details when we are at our destination. The rest of the cab ride went in complete silence. At Penn Station, the girls got down to get the luggage from the trunk while I stayed inside to pay him. Thats when he looked at me and said in a grumpy tone –

“South Asian ho na? Mujhe laga tum akele ho, isliye taxi rokee thi. Pata nahi tha yeh gorree ladkiyaan bhi tumhare saath hain Yeh goree ladkiyon se door rehna. Pehele pataa hotaa toh taxi nahi rokta.”

“You are a Soth Asian, right? I thought you are by yourself, hence I stopped the cab, did not know that those white girls were also with you, stay away from these white girls. Had I known before (that they were with you) I would not have stopped the cab”

I did not respond, paid him, took the change and bolted out of the cab. J told me later about what happened when I was on my pudding quest. The cabbie was yelling at them about how stupid he was to give them a cab ride when he should really be home and how he goes off duty at 4 PM (it was about 3:20 PM when he had dropped us at Penn Station) and how he hated working on Friday afternoons and how he should have never given them a ride and on an on he went. I told J about the comment he made when I was paying him. All of us had a good laugh about it.

I am not going to pass any judgment on the cabbie – maybe the guy had his heart-broken by a white girl? Maybe he has been a target of racial remarks from others or its just the outcome of being in a city which is a mixing bowl of peoples of many nationalities and ethnicities or all of the above. Whatever his motives or reasons, the incident left us with a sour taste of NYC.