“Never take rides from strangers”

You know how parents and teachers warn us as children never to accept a ride from a stranger? All these years, and I finally get to use that little bit of education …..

I was waiting for a cab to get home today, and every one that went by was changing shift. After 15 fruitless minutes, a car pulled up beside me, so slowly that I almost didn’t register it, I was concentrating so hard on trying to spot a cab. Next thing I know, the window winds down and the driver asks “Are you waiting for a cab?”, to which I answered (truthfully, but slightly bewildered since it was quite obvious what I was doing) “yes”.

“It’s hard to get a cab at this time”, he says. “I know”, said I. At this point I was still wondering what what was happening with all this stating-the-obvious stuff. Then came the question:

“Where are you going?”. To which I told him. He thinks for a while. “It’s out of my way, but I can send you there”.

To which I reply “Thank you, but I don’t accept rides from people I don’t know. Have a nice day.” Straight out of the textbook, and the admonishments of a dozen teachers, and my parents … never mind that those are 30 years distant already!

I have to admit I was totally taken by surprise … Singaporeans in general aren’t the kind of friendly folk who will offer rides to complete strangers – especially at rush hour, on a busy road, and when the destination is out of the way. And they probably won’t, not with people like me who refuse them on principle … but I couldn’t help feeling something wasn’t quite right about that situation.

It’s funny how the things you learned so long ago remain, like a sort of ready made script for dealing with these situations – even though you’re not a kid anymore.

1 Comment so far

  1. Tym (unregistered) on January 24th, 2006 @ 8:49 pm

    Here’s an anecdote from the opposite end of the spectrum: One time I was waiting at a bus stop and because I was late, I flagged the first cab that came by. Imagine my surprise when the other woman at the bus stop called after me as I was getting into the cab, “Where are you going?” Was she hoping to catch a ride??

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