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.

Headfirst Thrills on Wheels Rap.

I fly I feel the rush adrenaline kicking in my veins

If I stay home loneliness is my only friend

I fall in the showers, look around me there is no buzzer I shout no one can hear

I put my shoulder to the will, I drag along

I try so hard, blood sweat and tears I drag myself out of the mess

Keep on fighting I tell myself never give in never give up.

You can achieve when you believe and eventually I rise up

How I managed to get up I will never know

It proves there is a God if you need a reason.

Truthfully I wanna live like a prophet Irónically i stumble and struggle

With God on your side everything is a doddle don’t dawdle

If I stumble I keep humble and keep rumblin’ first bow down to the deity a being greater than you and everything else x2

Get out of the way get out of the way punk otherwise you will get trumped but

I ain’t no killer like Gina Miller I stand for justice

Elder Rex is comin through wearing the Amour of God from the fiery darts

As I leap into the unknown i shall fear no man but God, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

The God of LMN Lihi Moroni Nephi in alphabetical order

No weapon before me shall prosper Accident killers you never killed on purpose

You is a keyboard gangster like Trump punk you get trumped I ain’t no monkey’s uncle.

I always keep ma mind on the WOW, (Word of Wisdom)

If I stumble I keep humble and keep rumblin’ first bow down to the deity a being greater than you and everything else x2

I have come to show off when the show is on I always show up to a show down

Undefined and undefiled, unruly and orderly an oxymoron. bitter sweet at the very same time.

But don’t dont get it misconstrued im no wolf in a sheep skin Im straight Edge

I always keep ma mind on the GL, (Gospel Library)

My platitudes, attitude and latitude got me living lonely wandering like a loner

Don’t delete dilate, dilate don’t annihilate

Through the rain & pain always paint a positive portrait

Never give up keep your head up, your chin up and stiffen up your upper lip.

Learn to cheer don’t smear, prevail amid travails

Unlawful aweful

Baleful, baneful, frateful

Obstreperous, rapacious, tumultuous

Raucous, rebellious causing uproar in the upper row thats what I’m about

A trip to USOpen2018: Expected to run an errand without my legs

The labyrinth of New York

My worst experience ever dealing with hotels was in China Town, New York. Since I had stayed at the same hotel in 2017 I thought the journey planning would be a doddle. From experience it’s stress free and doesn’t cost much to travel if planned well. Having said that, to avoid the unforeseen transport issues that I had encountered earlier in May going to Cyprus, I made sure that I go to Manchester Airport early in the morning though my flight was departing in the afternoon, at 14:00. At the airport I checked-in betimes, as soon as the check in commenced.

Earlier that morning I had failed to locate my phone charger. Never mind I will buy one at the Airport, I thought. As I was being checked in, “make sure you empty all the contents from the side pocket of your chair… Also take your wallet and remember to take it with you into the plane”, said the lady on the counter. After the check-in the lady put my wallet in the side pocket of my hand luggage.

In the lounge I decided to go to Dixon’s, a renowned U.K. electrical shop. In there I took out my wallet from my bag, which was on my lap. The shop didn’t have an American or universal adapters but they allowed me to charge my phone and to keep an eye on it. When I left the shop the time was 12:40 which means I had roughly about 20minutes to charge it before thinking about boarding. I then went back to the lounge and soon after I was bursting for the loo. I couldn’t see no signs for disabled toilets on the ground floor, I asked someone and I was told to go upstairs. Aware that I was pushing it, I decided to take my phone from Dixon’s. In the shop, I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t see my phone where I had left it, let alone all the sales personnel were busy helping customers. Finally, “do you want your phone?” Someone asked me to my great relief.

He then went into the office at the back of the shop and brought it to me. Thereafter I went to find the lift to go upstairs. After the loo and in the lift I alarmingly heard my name being announced. “Mr Mteliso can you please make your way to flight number…” I assumed that the ground staff couldn’t find me where I was supposed to be. Trying to up my speed but to my frustration I was annoyingly in a lift seemingly slow moving. In the moment I forgot that I had left my crutches behind in the lounge. In the tunnel to board the plane is when I recalled and I asked one of the Aeroplane crew to go get them where I had left them. Instead of being one of the first passengers to board as a disabled person, I was the last one.

After 30 minutes the flight arrived in London at Heathrow airport. One of the grounds staff came to me and suggested that they were going to load my chair in the connecting flight. So I was pushed to yet another check-in where the ground staff who was pushing me had an altercation with the girl at the check-in desk. The check-in was subject to stringent checks similar to American Airports. As the ground staff was pushing me towards the check-in desk, she whispered in my ear, “if she asks you to take off your shoes, tell her you can’t… As a disabled person they can’t force you to do anything”. “Sir can you take off your shoes” the lady at the check-in desk looking like Janelle Monáe cried out. I thought they looked alike, maybe it was the similar hair style effect. “Unfortunately I cant” I retorted, boy oh boy, she was apoplectic. She said to me with a voice festered with anger “if you can’t take them off then you can’t go through”. Back in my mind I wanted to compliment her looks but after the unfriendly remark I didn’t. I therefore asked to speak to the manager and when the manager came, I was given a green light to go through without any further checks. Whence I was taken to board my flight. After around an 8 hours flight we landed at JFK Airport.

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