It was a Saturday night and I was slowly cruising along East Coast Park Service Road after dropping off some passengers. As the area was dark, I happened to see a man standing by the side of the road waving frantically at my taxi. There seemed to be a couple standing about 10 metres behind the man along the road but I was not sure whether they have flagged my taxi before I saw them.
My first instinct was to stop my taxi to pick up the man in the darkness of the night, as he was the one nearest to me. An Indian man dressed smartly wearing a neatly pressed shirt boarded my taxi. Before I could ask the man where he is going, I saw the Chinese couple running towards my taxi and then the man, in his twenties, opened the rear passenger door and asked the Indian man to get out, shouting furiously and looking aggressive. The Chinese man then turned to me and said: “I’ve been waiting for more than half an hour looking for a taxi and this man just walked from nowhere to the front of us and boarded your taxi”.
The Indian man kept silence and refused to accede, despite the Chinese man repeatedly asked him to get out of the taxi. The situation seemed tricky and could easily get out of control if I remained silent. I politely asked the Indian man to accede to the couple’s demand as the rule of thumb in such a situation is that the taxi driver to pick up the passengers further away from him than the nearest one.
The Indian man refused to accede and said that he is not going to get out of the taxi whatsoever. Upon my quick thinking, I decided to ask where are they going. The Indian man wanted to go to Telok Blangah Crescent and the couple to Kampong Arang road. I suggested that they all board my taxi and go to Kampong Arang Road first since it is just a 10 minutes journey and that they split the fare.
The Chinese man with a sullen face, just board the taxi with the woman upon hearing my suggestion, and he sit in the middle of the rear passenger seats, with the woman on his right and the Indian man on his left. While in the taxi. I try to defuse the tense situation by chatting them up and saying that what happened was just a small matter, no need to get angry over such an incident. It seemed that the aggrieved parties still refused to talk to each other throughout the journey, but then it may be a good thing that the situation did not get worse. I think I have done the right thing.