Many taxi drivers, especially those working in and around major UK cities, will be able to reel off a long list of famous people they have had the pleasure (or not) of ferrying around. But how many can say they had a truly memorable experience while a celeb was present? I’d like to think I can.
Picture this, I’m sitting at the front of a set of traffic lights in West London on a Friday evening wondering if I’m ever going to be lucky enough to get a job heading East, so I can end a long shift in the saddle. Then I take a look down to my right to see the blacked-out back window of a luxury German car slowly slide down.
A head appeared. Don’t panic it wasn’t just a head, it was still attached to a living body, of someone that looked very familiar. It took me a few seconds and then it clicked who it was.
The gentleman kindly asked me if I knew where the River Café was. Of course I did, I’m a London cabbie. Just as I was beginning to direct him, he asked if I could take him.
Catching me by surprise, I didn’t have a chance to even reply when this A-list celeb and his American wife (there’s a clue) jumped out of the vehicle and into mine.
We were only 5 minutes or so from our destination, so it was only going to be a brief encounter. Enroute the man and woman explained to me how they had been driving around for 25 minutes trying to find the restaurant, but their driver had no idea how to get there.
As I weaved my way through the “Helter Skelter” (another clue) just off the Fulham Palace Road, I assured them both that I would have them at their table enjoying a glass of their choice in no time.
As I pulled up outside the restaurant along the narrow road it sits on, I was thanked profusely for my knowledge and ability to, well, simply do my job.
As payment was being made, a private hire driver who was also dropping off a passenger around 20 feet ahead of me stuck his vehicle into reverse.
Slowly, as my passenger was standing crouched over in the back of my taxi, pulling cash from his trouser pocket, the private hire vehicle continued to reverse back. I thought, surely he’s going to stop, right? Nope! He continued reversing until he smashed into the front of my taxi.
My passenger lost his footing and stumbled back into the seats. We all looked at one another, and I’m pretty sure we were all thinking the same thing: “I’m only sleeping (clue), this cannot really have happened.”
We all exited our vehicles and stood in amazement. Did this driver not see the huge iconic taxi parked behind him? Did he not see the glaring headlights in his rearview mirror? Your guess is as good as mine.
In all fairness, the private hire driver was very apologetic and accepted that it was his fault. My absolute gentleman of a customer and his ever so polite wife asked if I was ok, and offered me a generous tip, “from me to you” (clue), as they now knew my night in the cab was over due to this incident.
I was handed a contact number for someone who represented this worldwide superstar in case a witness statement was needed. But as the driver seemed more than happy to accept liability, I thought it wasn’t going to be needed. We shook hands and parted ways. It was an absolute pleasure despite how unfortunately eventful the short journey was.
The collision was now in the hands of the insurance companies.
About a week passed when I received a phone call from my insurance company telling me that there was a problem. The private hire driver decided it was in his best interest to claim that I had driven into him, and as I was the vehicle at the rear, I was going to be held liable unless I could prove otherwise.
You’re probably thinking “I should have known better” (clue) than to trust a man to keep to his word, and you are right. But this wasn’t going to end here.
My first port of call was directly to the driver’s private hire firm, and a big one at that, to confront them. I made it clear that I knew what was going on and I was clearly being stitched up. I gave them two hours to contact their driver and have him finally tell the truth, otherwise I would be contacting my passenger/witness to settle the claim once and for all.
I heard nothing back, so I put the wheels in motion. I eventually managed to have contact with this famous man’s representatives, who would see if they could get in touch with him. The issue was that he had just travelled to Brazil, which felt like it was “across the universe” (another clue).
About two weeks had passed and I hadn’t heard anything. I truly thought that I was going to pay the price for trusting this private hire driver. The excess I was set to pay to have the insurance settled was eye-watering and left me feeling extremely disappointed.
But then a phone call came... One from my insurance company. They told me that the driver had changed his statement and had finally told the truth, accepting liability. It turns out that my A-list celeb had got in touch with the private hire firm directly and told them everything.
He took the time out of his busy schedule to make sure little old me would not be done over by a dishonest man. I was assured that it was that direct phone call that forced the tables to turn and save me from being out of pocket.
I was over the moon and this celeb will always get my “love me do” (clue). That Friday definitely seemed like “a hard days night” (your final clue!).
Got it yet? Of course you have… That’s right... It was indeed Sir Paul McCartney. What a legend.