Series, Taxi Tales

Taxi Tales: Rich Ugandans in Taxis

By David Tumusiime, Uganda:

The richest Ugandans use taxis. I know. I sit next to them everyday. At least I hope they are rich. Otherwise why would a man, knowing full well he is in a taxi with 15 pairs of alert ears, bellow down a phone, “Yes, yes, it's urgent! Just send me that ka-one million by mobile money. I already have nine million but he needs ten. We should not lose this sweet deal.”

If he did not really have the money, why would he be shouting like that in a taxi? There are more 'silent' ways of communicating if you don't have money. Like; he could have sent a text message to the person on the other side of the line for that ka-loan. Surely he must have the money.

No, no, I find it hard to believe that they are boasting about 'imaginary money.' I travel with these millionaires everyday. I can tell from their swagger that they're capos. Some of them even spot Dr. Dre's Beat headphones. Do you know how much those headphones cost? I don't think the Chinese have yet figured out how to duplicate them so they must be original.

If it is not someone trying to crack their deal on wheels, it is someone who lost theirs and can't wait to get them back. You can always tell it is their first time in a taxi in years. It is also a ride they do not intend to make again any time soon.

I know this because we can all hear them asking, incredulously, the other person down the line, “Do you know they can make two people sit on that tiny fold over seat behind the conductor in the taxi? Two people! Yet the seat is half the size of the bum of a healthy adult. How do you guys manage this life everyday?”

It is impossible that such a person is a pauper. They're even concerned about our health, “I see now why you patiently wait to get a lift in my Benz. The mechanic is bringing it to my office today. We can get out of this life again. It is impossible to live like this and remain sane.”

I actually expected that particular passenger to attempt to pay with a Visa card. I think the conductor would not have minded dollars. But yeah, the rich also use taxis.

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