My fare’s destination was the Delta terminal at BWI. As we arrived and my passenger’s luggage was being retrieved from the trunk, a lady who appeared to be desperately in need of transportation approached the cab. She needed to get to the Russian Consulate in Washington, D.C. in 30 minutes, which is highly impossible!
We might get to the Washington, D.C. line in the allotted time, I told her, but not clear across town on the other side of Dupont Circle, where I guessed this consulate was located, during the evening rush hour. She needed transportation immediately, was running behind schedule, and had no other alternative.
My primary objective was to get this lady in the cab and away from this airport before I was approached by the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. Baltimore City cabs can drop off at BWI Airport but are not permitted to pick up passengers. The penalties are rough—they can be far more severe than this $100 ride to D.C. But I needed and wanted the money. So I took the chance, plus the break was appreciated.
Honestly, I really did not know where she was going but I had a general idea. Most of the embassies are either located on Massachusetts Avenue NW or in close proximity. The consulate was in the 2600 block of Tunlaw Road NW. I contacted a fellow cabbie and he advised that Tunlaw Road was around the U.S. Observatory Circle. My passenger called a Russian friend who confirmed this place was in the vicinity of Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues.
We were both relieved, especially me—she hired my services believing that I knew where the destination was. But I still wasn’t sure of the exact location of this street. The cab company’s GPS is limited with a range about 30 miles from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. My intentions were to ask a D.C. cabbie when in the vicinity.
My passenger was going to the Russian Consulate to renew her visa. The appointment was 4 p.m. sharp and if late, a fine would be imposed. They need that measure of discipline here in America, I said. She was supposed to have been picked up by her husband’s friend six hours ago. “Why didn’t you consult with your husband about other arrangements after three hours had passed?”
“He just insisted that I wait.”
I suggested that she call the consulate to explain the situation. She called and finally talked with someone with authority after being transferred around for 15 minutes. The call was definitely a stress reliever.
“My husband caused all this shit! He insisted with his controlling personality that I wait for his friend,” she said. “I’m capable, knowledgeable, and resourceful enough to find my own way. He paid for my travel to America and thinks that he owns me. We married soon after my arrival. This is my first time away from Memphis, Tennessee and I’ve been living in the states for five years. I feel like I’ve been caged, honestly! My husband wants a child but I don’t want his baby. Lately, I’ve been considering separating and getting divorced.”
Well, it figures, no left turn from Massachusetts onto Wisconsin Avenue; I made the turn anyway after looking around and observing no cop cars or traffic-light camera. I inquired at the Sunoco gas station about three blocks down Wisconsin Avenue about the Russian Consulate on Tunlaw Road. The attendant pointed to the building and said the street’s one block over. She paid the fare and thanked me for getting her there promptly. I waited until she was securely on the compound.
Now, this fare definitely benefited from an aggressive cab driver not letting that money escape!
Thaddues Logan is the author of the books “Hey Cabbie” and “Hey Cabbie II”