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My mobile's in your cab!

By R&H taxi columnist Sherbet Trotter

Posted November 19, 2015
My mobile's in your cab!

Can't find your phone? It must be in that taxi you took.

Now, I have lost count since they became popular of the number of mobile phones I have found, returned or even handed into police stations, although the police don't want them now.

Sometimes I have been given a tip, sometimes not even a thank you and once I was rewarded with a rather expensive bottle of wine and £10 ($15) from a wine dealer (honesty definitely paid on that occasion).

Some of us taxi drivers have gone through the phone and rang a couple of numbers to find out where the owner lives and returned them.

Some other drivers, for some reason, have gone through the photos and seen a few compromising pictures, worthy of any page three!!

Satisfaction guaranteed but for who?

"As a tip he leant through the window and decided to offer the driver a fist full of fives, and not the note variety."

Now, one driver who happens to be a London taxi driver, really pushed the boat out, literally, along the Thames.

He picked up one of the City of London's finest gentlemen, sadly not one of the old-school bowler hat parade.

I will call this one Square Mile Jack (short for Jack the lad).

Square Mile Jack had obviously been out celebrating his latest bonus or insider trading deal, but on getting out of the cab decided not to share either with the driver and instead of the fare, which he decided not to pay, as a tip he leant through the window and decided to offer the driver a fist full of fives, and not the note variety!

Then he promptly scarpered.

The driver was coming towards the end of his shift and was rather upset and decided enough was enough and called it a night.

Now, the next day, the taxi driver reluctantly went to work, but another day another dollar, as they say.

Anyway, as he drove along he could hear the sound of a phone ringing so he glanced over his shoulder and there in the corner of the seat was a mobile phone.

He pulled over and opened the door and there in the back as well as the mobile was a laptop case wedged against the back panel.


It turns out not only a line but a full house.

So the taxi driver slides the phone screen across and decides to ring the last number.

The phone answers.

"Hello, mate. Thank God for that, you've got my mobile!"

"Have I?" replied the taxi driver.

"Yeah, I lost it last night along with my laptop," says Square Mile Jack.

"Where do you live?"

Square Mile Jack happens to live right where the Taxi-driver was assaulted – what an amazing coincidence!

"I remember you. I was the cabbie you assaulted last night. And you ran off without paying me and the only tip I got was punch in the face."

"Oh, you're joking, mate! I don't remember a thing. I'm really sorry," replies Square Mile Jack with the sincerity of an MP caught fiddling his expenses.

"I tell you what, mate, tell me where you are and I will meet you and pay for the fare from last night and pay you for getting my work phone and laptop back to me," he continues.

"OK, I will call you when I am in town," agrees the taxi driver.

The driver sets off into London and about an hour later, he pulls up on one of the bridges over the Thames and rings Square Mile Jack back up.

"Hello, mate. I am in town."

"Whereabouts are you?" Square Mile Jack eagerly asks.

"Hang on. I want you to listen to something first," replies the taxi driver.

A few seconds pass.

"Did you hear that?"

"What?" asks Square Mile Jack.

"The splash," retorts the taxi driver.

"What splash?" says Square Mile Jack.

"The splash where your laptop went into the Thames. And here goes your fucking mobile."

Another satisfied customer!

land's end, cornwall
Land's End: It's also got an airport, you know. Public domain

Now, this leads me on to what I consider a piece of driving equivalent to having a Jimmy while standing on a high wire on one leg and managing to piss in a toilet 20 feet below and not splash the seat (always thoughtful me: I do understand, ladies, as we gents all have to sit down at some stage as well).

I picked up a family, loaded their bags, made sure they strapped their kids in and set off.

"How long will it take to get to Land's End?" asked the father.

"Between an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half," I replied.

"Surely it wont take that long. I can do it in an hour," was the reply.

Now, I can put my foot down with the best of them, break the speed limit, do handbrake turns, drift, but I try not to make a habit of any of these, especially when I have passengers on board!

Although I was told that I once said "the sign of a good cab driver was being able to drive along, eating a KFC bargain bucket wedged between his legs".

Surely it wasn't me, Bob!

By the way, Bob runs an excellent micro pub called the Penny Farthing in Crayford, Kent.

Nothing but good beer and conversation, with no televisions, jukeboxes or fruit machines.

And a host of mobiles nailed to the walls (if you get my drift).

Anyway, I was not going to drive like Barry Newman in Fear Is the Key (probably one of the best car chases ever!).

Especially with someone's kids in the cab.

He preceded to tell me he could do Land's End to Bristol Airport in 2 hours 30.

I reckon that's averaging about 80 mph (130 km/h) and he thought speed cameras were a fallacy and I was like his dad and too over cautious!

Anyway, I got him down there in an hour and a quarter, he paid me and caught his plane.

I drove back down the gorgeous Cornish lanes, stopped at a supermarket and picked up a couple bits, then up the A30, round a few roundabouts, over quite a few speed bumps, picked someone else up and dropped them off.

Then the radio goes.

"Have you found a mobile phone in the cab?"


"That bloke you took to Land's End said it's definitely in the cab."

"Well, can you get him to ring the phone?"

"He thinks it's on silent."

"Wonderful," I think to myself.

So I get out, pull the carpets up, check under the seats, in the door pockets then I'm back on the radio.

"It's definitely not here."

"Okay, we will tell him."

"I thought I could hear a phone as we drove along..."

I then have to run our governor to the garage, up and down a few lanes, around a few roundabouts, down the unmade road and then the radio goes again.

"That bloke said the phone is definitely in the cab. He was using it."

"I know he was."

"Can you have another look?"

So I look at my governor.

"I thought I could hear a phone as we drove along," he says.

By now he is on his hands and knees, the seat is going up and down and backwards and forwards but he cannot find it.

"Must have been the radio," he says.

He stands up.

"Jump out," he goes.

I got out and looked across and there in the gulley on the roof where the roof bars are attached was the mobile phone.

I bet he was glad that I wasn't the Stig.

I'm still waiting for the drink.

Be lucky!

See also On the stag in Newquay, posted 5/11/15.

Sherbet Trotter
is a Newquay, Cornwall-based taxi driver who writes books, films and songs and who gave that Rake bloke a lift the other day. We liked the cut of his jib so we immediately gave him a column.

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