Here’s a story you won’t hear often because the only people who usually tell it tend to be rather unreliable sources of information. Perhaps that’s why the scam works so well!
Here’s the scam. A drunk man gets into a taxi in the early hours of the morning and, according to Victorian law, he pays for his ride before the taxi sets off. Taxi driver drives him a few streets away then orders him to get out. Drunk man may get out thinking he has arrived at his destination and the cabbie drives off with money he hasn’t earned. The drunk might argue if he is aware he hasn’t been taken where he paid to go. If he argues the taxi driver threatens to call the police and have him arrested for being drunk and disorderly. The drunk might get out then because he doesn’t want to face the police drunk, or sober for some cases, and the cabbie drives away with money he hasn’t earned. Others might get violent because the cab driver is trying to rip them off. They will be in a state when the police arrive that would warrant being arrested no doubt and, once again, the taxi driver drives away with money he hasn’t earned.
Others, like my son, might refuse to get out of the cab and sit quietly in the back seat waiting for the police to arrive in complete confidence that the police will make the taxi driver either refund the money or take him home.
That’s the way he was brought up you see. He was taught that the police are there to keep bad guys in line and, if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from them.
So, in the wee hours of a Sunday morning my son got into a taxi after spending the evening catching up with an old friend he hadn’t seen since they were in primary school. The next day he called his sister to come and pick him up from the police station. He claimed the cab driver ripped him off, the police bashed him up, and he did absolutely nothing to deserve it.
His face, hand, elbow, arm, knee and leg were all injured. The injuries were consistent with his tale of being thrown to the ground and kicked – they were graze injuries rather than blow injuries. He said at no point did he resist the police or try to fight them so he was at a loss to understand why they had been so rough with him. The injury to his head told me that I was very lucky he was not one of those young men who have died from hitting their head after being knocked to the ground!
Who is going to believe he did nothing to provoke the arrest? Only a foolish, deluded, naive and trusting Mother. Right?
Perhaps, but it’s a story that needs to be told, it’s a scam that needs to be exposed.
If you were the mother and you told me that tale I would have no doubts at all that your son absolutely MUST have behaved badly and, if he really isn’t lying to you, chances are he just can’t remember what he did to warrant being treated that way.
But you are not the mother. I am. And it isn’t your son. It’s mine. I don’t know your son but I do know mine and, whilst I want to believe the best of both my children, I’m not completely blind to their faults. I know my son can become very argumentative, even angry, when drunk but I also know he never gets physically aggressive.
Let me give some examples of that. As a child he NEVER got into fights. He used to torment and tease his sister and other kids but he never got rough with them – EVER – not even when they got rough with him!
As a teenager he still didn’t get into fights. He was even attacked and beaten up a couple of times when he was young but, even at times like that, he did not fight back. He doesn’t know why but I think I do.
For the first few years of his life, before I learned self-control, I was dangerous when angry. He learned to cop it on the chin if he wanted it to stop and that is what he did. Took the beltings without getting angry himself.
Only once did he ever fight back and he didn’t do it to save himself. He didn’t fight me physically either. He fought me with words and he fought me on behalf of his baby sister.
As I headed towards her, intending to smack her and smack her good, he stepped between us and, white with fear but determined to intervene, he said “Don’t hit her Mum, she’s too little to hit, hit me instead.”
He was just six years old!
The shame I felt when I saw how frightened he was of me left a mark that changed my behaviour but that’s a different story. Suffice it to say neither one of them got hit that day.
Moving on to his adulthood and he continued to avoid violence. For a time he worked as a bouncer. He thought it was a job that would impress the girls but he never, not once, used violence to sort out a problem. He prided himself on his ability to talk down aggressive drunks. Even when they threw punches at him he did not respond by fighting back.
I have seen my son drunk and in a towering rage several times. I have heard him express anger and hostility but I have never seen him get physical. He has never thrown a punch in anger but there is more to his self-control than that. He has never thrown, kicked, punched, smashed, dented, damaged or bent things no matter how angry he has been. Not even as a child!
HE DOES NOT EVEN SLAM DOORS!
The angrier he gets the tighter he closes his mouth and the faster he walks away. There is only one place his rage runs riot and that is on Facebook.
On Facebook he indulges in rants and threats and comes across as quite dangerous when drunk but he is nothing like that in person and I have known him, man and boy, for over 40 years.
When my son told me that tale I thought he must have at least APPEARED to be a danger and that was why he was treated so badly. He looks dangerous you see. He just has one of those faces but then I went with him to talk to the police. He wanted to see if he could get them to change the $577.00 fine to a warning. He understands they might have thought he was dangerous and he was prepared to cop the beating on the chin. I wanted to know exactly what he had done to warrant such violence being used against him.
The first thing they said was they remembered him. The second thing they said was “Do you remember what happened?” When we said he did remember the officer wanted to know why he was there. My son told him he was hoping to get the fine changed to a warning since it was the first time he has ever been in trouble with the police. I said I wanted to know what he had done to warrant the police doing so much damage to him.
The police officer told him they had no power to alter the fine but he could contest it. He told me the police had not touched my son. When my son insisted he had received the injuries from the police throwing him to the ground and that he clearly remembered it the officer tried to say the memory of a drunk was unreliable but we insisted there was nobody else who could have inflicted the damage.
The officer went to talk to his superior and the superior officer came to speak with us. He told us he was present at the time and that my son got out of the cab when they arrived and he saw the injuries on him at that time. He said the police did not cause any injuries.
I said “So that’s the way you are going to handle it? You are just going to lie to our faces?” He smiled at me and said he was not lying. He said my son was very drunk and probably does not remember what really happened.
I said my son was with his friend and his friends girlfriend and they can testify that he got into the taxi uninjured so, if the police did not cause the injuries, the cab driver must have assaulted him and we would like to press charges against the cab driver. The policeman said they could not disclose the identity of the taxi driver or press charges and then asked my son for his friends name. My son began to give his friends name but I stopped him. I told my son the police were clearly not to be trusted and then I lectured the policeman about how I trained my kids to respect the law, do the right thing, be honest and so on and clearly I had fed them a pack of lies and the police were not there to defend the innocent and he should drink and drive next time as he would probably get home less injured and it would cost him less money. Then I stormed out. I am much less controlled with my anger, to this day, than my son is.
I had to leave. I was so angry. I have defended the police all my life because I believed they really were the good guys for the most part. Even when the policeman ignored my phone call for help when five youths attacked me in my own home I told myself he was one bad egg in a basket of mostly good eggs but this experience has seriously soured me!
You can do whatever you like to me and I will make excuses for you but touch my kids and all bets are off!
I waited outside for my son but he didn’t come so, after I cooled down a bit, I went back to get him.
The policeman had changed his story by then. On hearing we had witnesses he now claimed he “might” have been responsible for the injuries to my son’s torso and limbs but still denied causing the damage to his face.
No doubt he knows that’s the unforgivable injury because that’s the one that had the potential to kill my son!
I don’t know what was in this for the police. Do they get a cut of the take from the taxi driver or do they just get to bash up drunks for fun? I do know my son tried to do the right thing by society and not drink and drive.
In return he lost the taxi fare, was beaten up by police, and got fined $577 dollars.
The world has gone insane!
My daughter and I were gutted and wanted to ensure he didn’t have to pay such a high cost for doing the right thing so we took a share of the injustice dealt out to him that day by paying the fine for him as a Christmas gift.
I think it helped him let the experience go but I wish someone would print a warning to other people who mistakenly think getting a taxi home if you have been drinking is a safe option.