Not Small Potatoes

I am a writer and community advocate with a lot of joie de vivre but very limited budget partly because of doing so much pro bono work on behalf of people who needed my help but had no way to pay for it.

I am determined to make the world a better place. Therefore, these blogs will sometimes have a short anecdote/memoir; a tale of something that I hope will be changed if enough good people step up, and stories of inspiring acts of kindness on individual and community levels.

So, what’s with the potatoes?

When I was a child, to make sure we didn’t go hungry, my mother always managed to buy a large sack of potatoes that would last all winter. My brothers and I would help peel them. As the youngest, I got the small potatoes because they were easier and faster to peel with less chance of cutting a finger, as the blood would require throwing the potato away, and bandaids were expensive.

I realize that the things I would like to change will take time and patience, and that’s OK. So, I will start with the ”small potatoes”.

I have not had a car for the last two years and have adjusted to the so-called (not) “better way” of public transit. However, I will treat myself to taxis when the weather is bad or I go shopping when hungry and the bags are too heavy. Yesterday was a day like that.

Sitting in the back of a cab I had ordered to pick me up from a friend’s house, I heard the dispatcher give out information to various drivers. More than once he mentioned ‘‘senior’s discount’’. I had never heard that before and the social worker part of me asked if that meant the “Wheel Tran’s service”. The driver got uncomfortable and said no, there was a ten percent discount for seniors but he didn’t tell me and doesn’t routinely tell passengers because that would cut into his profits.

He went into a tirade about why it isn’t fair that the driver and not the company owners should have to absorb the seniors discount, and urged me to call the head office and complain on behalf of drivers. When we got to my destination, the meter read $15. I gave him $20. He looked conflicted and said that he would give me five dollars back and since he was sure I wanted to give him a tip he would not enter the discount on the meter and that could be his tip.

If this conversation hadn’t happened he would have the discount and the tip I usually give for himself.

I plan to contact the company and other taxi companies and find out why the seniors discount is not public information. Once I know more, I will share and ask you to share with seniors who do use cabs and may be trusting and unaware of benefits as well as predatory/deceptive tactics.

Small potatoes can add up. Messing with grannies can backfire.