Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The death of a cabbie

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

- Kingstonians have just been tragically reminded that being a taxi driver is a very dangerous job. David Krick was slain Sunday, and as of this writing, no arrest had been announced.

Think, for a moment, about what a taxi driver does for a living. Your job includes stopping to offer rides to people whose identities you probably do not know, or picking people up at addresses with which you might not be familiar, or delivering them places you might well never consider going yourself.

Unless there's evidence to the contrary, when strangers get into your cab you are forced to assume that: a) they have the money to pay for their ride; b) they are not high on drugs or alcohol; c) they are not mentally ill; and d) they have not chosen your taxi expressly in order to rob or harm you. These are big assumptions.

Now add to this mix some other facts: that much of your interaction will be with more than one passenger at a time, thereby leaving you outnumbered; and that this interaction will often occur at night or during the early morning hours when there isn't a lot of help at hand if anything does go wrong.

Given all these circumstances, it almost seems a miracle taxi drivers in Kingston aren't seriously harmed more often.

Certainly, they have been assaulted and robbed. This newspaper carried a small "sampler" list yesterday of violent incidents involving taxi drivers, including one being robbed at knifepoint, another assaulted with a BB gun and yet another attacked by a drunk. Still, the death of David Krick may be the first murder of a cab driver in Kingston.

To the extent that it was possible to offer security, his company and peers did. There was an alarm button in Krick's cab, and there was satellite tracking. Other cab drivers, alerted quickly that one of their own was in distress, rushed to where the car had been to help search for the driver. When Krick was found, a cabbie administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while police tried CPR. Heroic gestures - just too late.

Discussion in days to come will centre not only on catching the culprit and finding out why the stabbing occurred, but on further safety measures that may be feasible for taxi-cabs, if any.

In the meantime, we mourn a man described by his friends and family as a "wonderful guy" who "wasn't a fighter."

And we'll think twice and feel a little extra appreciation when a lone cab driver responds to our calls for a ride late at night or in the very early hours of the morning.

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