“Why does the meter say six dollars?”
“I’ve been waiting out here for 10 minutes.”
“Why do you do this to me?” The drunk East African guy is genuinely offended.
“It’s 3 am on a Saturday night. You’re lucky I didn’t take off.”
“But I am your Muslim brother!”
“I’m not Muslim, and waiting for you costs me money. I started the meter after three minutes, which is a reasonable amount of time, and all that does is keep me from losing even more money than if I hadn’t turned it on.”
“If you aren’t Muslim, then why all this?” He waves his hand in front of his face, and I realize that my winter look of scarf, skullie and long beard fits the
stereotypical Islamic aesthetic. Plus the fact that, you know, I’m a cab driver.
I want to get the guy home as quickly as possible, so I decide to just agree with him. As I pull out, I tell him that I am, in fact, a Muslim.
“My Muslim brother! I will never cheat you! You are wise to be careful telling me, it can be dangerous for us.”
He tells me about how Muslims need to stick together, and when we arrive he asks for a discount. He instead gets a lecture about how good Muslims don’t get shitfaced and act like jerks to their drivers. He gives me a tip and a kiss on the cheek.
I don’t even feel guilty as I drive away.