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The season of goodwill

By R&H taxi columnist Sherbet Trotter

Posted December 17, 2015
A Christmas taxi tale from Newquay cab driver Sherbet Trotter

A Christmas taxi tale from Newquay cab driver Sherbet Trotter.

Let me tell you a true story that made me proud to be British.

About 10 years ago, I was driving my taxi to Cornwall via the A303 on Christmas Eve with the cab containing many items that included a turkey, a rocking chair and various presents along with all my perishable shopping.

Partly my own fault, but my radiator had been overheating on odd occasions and, as it wasn't leaking, I decided not to replace it.

The weather was cold and damp, with snow still left in the fields with a promise of more to come.

As I approached the Esso petrol station at South Petherton, the taxi started to overheat and wouldn't cool down, which it hadn't done before.

I managed to limp into the Esso station and open the bonnet.

Things didn't look too clever as one of the main hoses had burst.

Desperately, I went into the garage and asked if they had a hose.

"Sorry" was the reply, so I asked if they knew where on Christmas Eve would be open and they told me there was a garage a couple of miles away.

So off I walked in the direction they told me.

About a mile and half (2.4 km) away there was a junction with a yellow emergency breakdown phone.

I tried to use it but to no avail.

I must have looked desperate, as all of a sudden the first Good Samaritans pulled up.

"Are you stuck?" they asked.

I explained what had happened and that there was a garage somewhere.

"Jump in. We will drop you there."

I joined their turkey in the back seat of their car and off we went.

It turned out they were both local teachers so they knew the area.

We got to the garage, but alas, it was all shut for Christmas.

"Don't worry, we will take you to Halfords in Yeovil. They'll be open."

And before I could say no, I didn't want to put them out, we were off.

an RAC van
Probably not the same bloke: An RAC man in an RAC van. (Check bottom for credit)

When we got to Halfords, I asked, "What do I owe you?" but they refused to take anything and insisted that they would run me back to my cab.

I went in and bought a piece of hose the nearest I thought would fit and a couple of Jubilee Clips.

Then, seeing an RAC man, who was the next good Samaritan, I quickly spoke to him and he gave me a piece of flexi hose that may get me out of trouble.

With that, my first Good Samaritans took me back to my cab.

By now we had travelled about 18 miles all in all.

I broached the subject of payment and again they were having none of it, so I slid a £20 ($30) note into the side of the turkey box, thinking they would find it when they got home, but on leaving them at my cab they called me back.

I had been rumbled and insisted that I take the £20 back.

This moved me and bought a tear to my eye.

I wished them a Merry Christmas and they went on their way.

In the next 15 minutes, I started to take the old hose off and set about repairing my taxi, when along comes my third Good Samaritan, a jolly red-faced gentleman.

He asked did I need any help or tools.

I thanked him and said I was OK.

He then went into the garage to pay for his fuel and came out 10 minutes later with a cup of hot coffee, a bag of crisps and a quarter bottle of Scotch and told me not to drink the Scotch till I got home.

He then set off on his merry way.

The floodgates opened up as my eyes filled with tears at the generosity of complete strangers.

The taxi only made it another few miles – it turned out the head gasket went – so I completed the rest of the journey by cab to Cornwall with my turkey, rocking chair and various presents along with all my perishable shopping.

I eventually recovered my own cab after Christmas.

The Good Samaritans I met that day are what puts the Great in Great Britain.

Merry Christmas and goodwill to you all!

Chief hack's note: And Merry Christmas to you too, Sherbet! Thanks very much indeed. And here's to a Christmas and New Year devoid of any similar motor hassles!

See also Drunk monks v skate punks, posted 3/12/15, among others.

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.

Picture credits

Top and thumb: © Ignatius Rake.

Bottom: An RAC van by Chris Sampson.

For licensing information on the second, click the above link.

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