What Do You Pay A Driver When You Give Birth In His Cab?
An urban dilemma
An old friend came to visit and enthralled my offspring and me with the following story, about two friends of his who live in New York whom we’ll call Q and Z.
Z was pregnant. It was about her due date when she began to feel a little funny, so she and her husband, Q, called a cab. Not an Uber, which is smart, considering recent events.
Anyway, Q and Z hailed a cab and asked the driver to take them to their birthing center. Driver said sure. Not long after, Z said, “Uh oh.” Turned out the baby, which was her third, had no intention of waiting.
Q ended up delivering Z’s baby in the back of the cab. The driver then conveyed the whole stunned, messy family to the professionals, who had little to do but cut the cord.
Q and Z thanked the driver before disembarking. The fare came to $25; they gave him $50.
“I’d like $200,” the driver replied.
They told him they couldn’t do that but, once they were safely home again, they did call 311, which is the number to call in New York for general city services. According to my friend, this is how the call went:
Dispatcher: Hello, 311.
Q: Hi there! I’m calling because my wife gave birth in a taxicab —
Dispatcher: Do you have the driver’s name and medallion number?
Q: Yes. [gives over the info]
Dispatcher: And this happened when?
Q: It just happened, on Saturday, and —
Dispatcher: And would you like to register a compliment or a complaint?
Q: Uh, a compliment? My wife had a baby in his cab and he got us to the birthing center safely, so we were hoping he could get a commendation or a gold star or … something?
Dispatcher: Uh-huh. Anything else?
Q: … No, I guess that’s it!
God bless the stalwarts at 311.
Anyway, the question is, was twice the fare an appropriate amount to pay for unexpectedly giving birth in the backseat of someone’s cab? Should they have given over the requested $200? How, in this situation, does one decide what is fair?
Support The Billfold