I never thought I’d tell this story on the blog. My worst taxi story is either hilarious or terrifying, depending on my mood in the telling, but it shows me making a stupid mistake. And paying for it. However, a comment on the Is Uber Creepy? discussion (which is lively) led me to realize the story needs to be told.
Mike asked “Are you really worried that the uber driver, whose info you have on your phone and Uber has, is going to take you to a dark alley and sexually assault or rob you?”
Well, yeah. Because last year a taxi driver almost did.
It was in Rome, last August. And to be fair to Uber, it was a licensed yellow cab. I got in a cab stand and told the driver to take me to the Piazza Navona. It was my last day in Italy and I just wanted to grab a meal before packing up for my flight. The driver immediately started telling me in very broken English that I was “bella” and “sexy”* but after two weeks in Italy I laughed it off and replied in Spanish (which works most times) that I was an old witch.
*Just a quick aside here: certain attention you expect in your 20s. By the time you’re in your mid-40s with two kids it’s not flattering- it’s just vile. Especially when you’re plus size. There’s a certain type of creep that equates “plus size” with “promiscuous”. I once had a man in Madrid tell me I looked “like I had a lusty appetite” and he wasn’t just talking about food.
Then he told me his name was Felipe and said, for the first of MANY times “I am Bruce Willis, No?”. Well, actually Felipe, with your white T-shirt and earring you more resemble Mr. Clean, but whatever dude. The following conversation ensued:
Mr. Clean: “Why you go Piazza Navona?”
Me: “Voy a comer.” (I am going to eat.)
MC: “No. No. Piazza Navona no good. I take you to best restaurant. But first I show you best view of my city.”
Now up until this point it was your normal cab ride with your normal (annoying, but normal) cab banter. We’re in rush hour traffic so I could have gotten out at this point. Which I should I have done when…
he switched off the meter and abruptly turned right, going up a mountain road.
At this point my radar definitely goes up, but it’s at medium- weird, but not dangerous. We keep going for about 10 minutes and get to a lookout point. There is another car up there- a Mom and daughter- and thinking we were together (?) offered to take our picture. (Which was immediately deleted)
Here is where I should have run, but I didn’t…
he picked me up and lifted me onto the wall,
shoving his hands down the back of my pants and grabbing my bare butt in the process.
Ok, so now my radar is on high, and his hand is on my ass. I grab it and shove it away, which makes him laugh (huge warning) but I still let the other car leave so I’m alone with Mr. Clean who thinks he’s Bruce Willis on the top of a mountain.
What the #@%$ was I thinking?
I’ll tell you. I was thinking:
- I’m a soccer mom, not a hot college student. WTF?
- This is a hell of a story as long as I get out alive.
So now my focus is convincing Mr. Clean that it’s time to go. I try to get in the cab and he stands between me and the door, which I feared would happen. And here’s where he sets the terms:
Mr. C: “I showed you most beautiful view, no?”
Me: “yes, the city is bella”
Mr. C: “You are bella. Now you must kiss me. I show you view, you kiss me.”
(Uh, I don’t remember signing that contract, but if it gets me off this mountain…I think quickly and decide to offer up my cheek.)
Which he takes as an invitation to orally examine my ear.
That snaps me to my senses quickly! I shout “NO!” as I would to a dog and maneuver myself into the back seat of the taxi, locking the door. Fortunately he decides the conquest isn’t worth the chase and he dejectedly gets into the driver’s seat and drives me not to the Piazza Navona but to a restaurant in Travestere. The entire time he’s still talking as if we’re on a date and I turned him down somewhere between second and third base!
When we pull up to the restaurant he tells me he’ll be back in 90 minutes to “take you on a night tour of my city”. Needless to say, I bolt from the cab quickly.
It’s the “almost” that makes the story funny if I choose to remember it so.
I want to make clear that I don’t blame myself any more than I would slut-shame a woman dressed to go out dancing who got unwanted attention. But the bottom line is no one is going to protect me but me and I was stupid, stupid, stupid.
Ladies, watch yourselves. No matter your age or your size, some creep out there thinks he’s got the right to yippie-kay-yay on you.
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