The true dangers of being a cab driver
The arrest of Gregory Scott, 32, of Chattanooga has become an example of the danger faced by cab drivers all over the country.
Last Saturday morning, a Mercury Cab driver was dispatched to a home in the 1000 block of North Hickory Street to pickup a female passenger. But according to an arrest affidavit, when the driver arrived, Scott jumped into the cab; placed the barrel of a handgun in the driver’s mouth and a knife to the driver’s neck then demanded cash.
WDEF spoke to Millenium Taxi Driver Alicia Smith. She said knows what the Mercury Cab Driver went through because she was robbed by a gunman last November.
"The guy held a gun to the back of my head; took my purse but didn’t get any money," Smith said.
In recent years, cab driving has been added to the 15 most dangerous jobs in America due to the number of violent assaults on drivers.
WDEF spoke to Nation Taxi driver Steven Heinrich. He said his line of work forces many drivers to juggle risk and reward every time they allow a passenger into their vehicle.
"You might go into some areas that you might not want to; and you know you’re putting yourself into that risk. But you’ve got to pay your bills. You have to raise your family, especially those of us who have children," Heinrich said.
WDEF spoke with one driver who didn’t want to be identified but said many of his fellow drivers are forced to carry concealed firearms for their own protection.
Another driver told WDEF that some cab drivers have code words they use to alert dispatchers of a problem.
When WDEF spoke to Smith, she said surviving an armed robbery is one thing, but the psychological toll is different beast to overcome.
"You’ll be nervous for a while. Like, I’ve actually picked up people on a block that I was robbed at before. It played with me a little bit, but I was ok," smith said.
As for the man accused of the robbery this past weekend, he remains in jail on a $100,000 bond.