I had an experience last week that kind of surprised me. On Friday afternoon, I decided that it was about time to go have a haircut, so I headed to the barber shop. It was about 4pm by the time I went there, and I knew that by the time I finished and got ready to go home, it would be rush hour. For some reason, traffic has been terrible in Davao lately, so I opted to take a taxi instead of driving myself.
The taxi driver was a friendly fellow, in his mid 30’s, I’d guess. We encountered a lot of traffic even on our way to the barber shop, so the trip took a little longer than I had expected, thus the price of the trip was a bit more than normal. He used the meter, so he was being fair on the pricing… no monkey business – so I’m not complaining that the fare was a bit higher.
When we arrived at our destination, the meter read P57. I pulled out my wallet, got a P100 bill and handed it to the driver. He pulled out a wad of money from his pocket. He had a bunch of P100 bills and a couple of P50s. He looked at me and said “Sorry sir, no change.” Well, I really expected things to start getting interesting at this point.
You see, pulling the “no change” trick is a favorite way for taxi drivers to get a big tip from foreigners. Usually a foreign rider will put up a bit of an argument, but finally just give the P100 and tell the driver to keep the change. He probably won’t like it, but giving up P43 as a tip won’t kill him. Because of this, a lot of taxi drivers, even if they really do have change, will say that they don’t, trying to get that extra large tip.
I looked back at the taxi driver, and showed him that I also had no change, just a P50 and some P100 notes.
The next move of the driver shocked me…. he looked at me very sincerely, took the P50 from my hand, and said – “It’s OK, sir… next time just give me a tip.” So, he actually took LESS than what was on the meter!
I have heard of this happening with Filipino passengers, but I didn’t think that a taxi driver would ever do this with a foreigner, so I was quite surprised!
You know, taxi drivers are probably the people that most foreigners complain about more than any other group. Often times the complaints are deserved too. But, this experience showed me that not all taxi drivers are out to steal or rip off foreigners.
That taxi driver made my day, and over just 7 Pesos!