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Cabbies May Be Forced To Be Polite | News

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Cabbies May Be Forced To Be Polite
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ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA) -- We all know cabbies in New York can be a little rude.

But Alexandria?

The City of Alexandria is mulling over a law that could subject rude cabbies to termination.

"You don't need a law to be polite, you know, that just comes
naturallY," says mild-mannered Mohamed Ibrahim is having a tough time
figuring this out.

He and his co-workers wonder if you can really pass a law requiring
people to be polite. "Are you always polite to everybody?" I asked
cabbie Pat Ebiri."Yeah." "Even when they yell and scream at you?" "You
know, it's part of our jobs."

Turns out the city has long had a law allowing it to discipline
cabbies who are repeatedly or egregiously rude and discourteous to their
passengers. Now staffers want to extend that protection to city
officials and the public.

"It should not be written as a law that a driver is not polite and
therefor should be terminated. This could be grounds for termination,"
says driver Wolday Gabremichael.

This all started with one cabbie and one citizen complaint about a
year ago. The cabbie apparently cursed at someone he says stole his
parking spot. Hauled before a city board, the cabbie apparently said, 'I
was rude, and there's not a darn thing you can do about it."

"I've called, they show up," says cab rider Lora Jerakis. "They've
never been impolite. They're not exactly engaging. But they're never
impolite."

Even the Mayor Bill Euille thinks this is going a little far. "So do
you have a whole lot of rude cab drivers in Alexandria?" I asked him. "I
don't think so."

And some of the cabbies say they need a little protection -- from
their passengers. "Not only cursing. We've have lost a few drivers. They
were killed by passengers," says cabdriver Shahid Ahmed.

It's a difficult job... the cabbies want us to give them a break.

City lawyers have now tweaked the language and now say discipline
would apply only to profane, threatening, or assaultive behavior. The
city council will take a look at it at a hearing on Saturday.

Written by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com

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