Black & White Taxi 375: Leeds

On Saturday 3rd of December I left the club at 12:30 am. I had had a ball time and I was ready to go to bed. Straightaway I dashed to the train station, the only place which guarantees taxis which take card payment. While in the front of the queue I turned off my wheelchair. The rightful taxi- a wheelchair accessible taxi pulled up and I turned on my new wheelchair to no avail. The monitor constantly displayed the “pm m1 brake error 1505 error”. I was bewildered and my brain was all over the place, trying to start the chair was a puzzling endeavour. This can’t be happening, the chair is fairly new I thought to myself. When I checked my time, it was around 1am.

Many taxis came and went while I was still stuck in front of the queue, however I was no longer dealing with the ordeal alone. One strong Romanian guy was volunteering to go with me to my place and help push me into the house, he suggested this after someone had coined a daft inconsiderate idea to help lift my chair into the taxi and let the driver take me home without help from the other side. Also there was a couple standing by me, the wife was refusing to go home until I get help. She was trying to call the corps (police) to see if they can do something to help. At first they told her that they can’t do nothing as they were too busy, that’s when tears started streaming down her cheeks ruining her nicely done makeup. So emotional she was and genuinely wanted to help however the husband kept on reminding people that he was only waiting because of his wife.

Many kept on asking me if I know someone I could call. Of course I know plenty but what if I was in a foreign country, I thought to myself recalling my independent wheelchair experiences from 2015- 2019. I went through worse experiences but regardless of how far I was from home I unstuck myself free of many sticky situations. I was constantly reminded that there is God if I ever needed a reason.

Two corps finally arrived, one male and the other was a female with striking beauty. One bloke in the queue couldn’t hold back his natural man and tried to charm her panties off, very inappropriate I thought given what I was going through. However from a different perspective it could be said that there is never an inappropriate time to express how you feel about someone, an opportunity comes to pass and might never arise again.

Meanwhile the male corp was trying to restore order because many in the queue where becoming frustrated and agitated. With no authority people live lawlessly like animals, with no civic order.

After he restored some order he then walked back to where I was and asked how he could put my chair into a manual mode. As I was thinking about it and how to show him, he said I have figured it out, while he was kneeling at the rear of my chair. Consequently he pushed my wheelchair to the other side of the road where a black and white Sharan taxi was parked. It proved problematic to access it, the ramp dropping down from the side was a bit steep, and that required a monumental effort. It was an insurmountable task for the corp, instead of offering the corp the help to push me up the ramp many started murmuring then I overheard a gentleman telling the corp to ban me from queueing for taxis at the train station citing that I had been a nuisance to many on several occasions.

I found his remarks not only vitriolic but also toxic and diabolic, I had never been a nuisance to anyone far from it people like me and respect me. When I looked back I recognised his face. He is the senior taxi driver of the Leeds Local Authority Taxis dubbed the ‘Black and White’ taxis. I recalled having some issues with him around 2006, after he struggled to figure out how to clamp my old wheelchair in his taxi. Afterwards he red listed me and ordered all the Black and White taxis to refrain from picking me up.

He drives taxi number 375, he really doesn’t like me. Well no matter how many and no matter how well you get along with many there is always a few who harbour ill will.

Anyhow it was freezing cold and it had been more than two hours waiting at the train station. The ramp for the Sharan was too steep so decided to use a Peugeot rear loader, the ramp comes out from the back and it was less inclined. The agreed plan was for the corps to follow the taxi and help me to access my house.

Serendipitously and miraculously, half way home I turned on the chair and it was working again. I then got home and waited for the corps following me to arrive. When they arrived I made sure that they were not planning on banning me from using taxis or imposing any restrictions alike as the driver of the taxi 375 had suggested. They told me not to worry about it as the guy was spewing vitriolic crap, not in those words as such but you get the gist.

If any of my fellow permobil users ever see “pm m1 brake error 1505 error” on their monitors. Try putting your chair into manual mode for a few minutes and put it again in electric mode and everything should work again.

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