Series, Taxi Tales

Taxi Tales: Children in Taxis

By David Tumusiime, Uganda:

There was a time when I could not stand crying babies in taxis. I used to think there was nothing as bad as being stuck in a taxi with a mother and her caterwauling kids.

I'll make an even more damning confession. Once, I heard a taxi tale of a driver who, slowing down to pick up a woman with a kid, on realising the woman had two more kids with her instead sped off. Muttering that while he was ok with taking a mother with one kid, he was not a nursery school mini van driver to take one who had three kids with her. I completely understood what that taxi driver was talking about.

Kids in taxis are not like those annoying people who yuck and yuck on their phones. Phones run out of 'airtime.' Kids do not, once they start crying. At least they don't seem to when they are someone else's kids. I seemed to see it all the time.

But everything changes. Now, I almost jump out of my seat in alarm when a mother or father is clambering onto the taxi with a baby in their arms. Watching to see they do not bump their baby's head on the edge of those low hanging taxi doors. I can't help it.

I never used to pay attention to those selfish people who sit next to windows and yank them wide open. Even as you are speeding 60kmphr plus on a highway. I mind now. Especially when someone cuddling a baby is seated between us. If my angry “looks could kill” burning stare does not make them realise the error of their ways, I tap them and ask them to shut their side of the window, “Can't you see there is a baby here?”

When a baby starts wailing in a taxi, I do not wish I could chuck it out through the window anymore. For distracting my attention from this Jane Bussmann. I want to know what's irritating the baby.

In fact, now, I judge the driver and conductor with new eyes. It is not just about how clean the seats of their taxis are (yes, there are consistently clean taxis); it is about how they treat people with babies/toddlers. A taxi that cares for people with babies or toddlers cares about its passengers.

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