Irate netizens hit back
Before he had even stepped into the taxi he had booked, he was berating the driver.
And he did not let up during the entire journey, using hurtful and demeaning words to put down the cabby.
His tirade was recorded by the in-car camera of the Comfort Taxi. The cabby's daughter decided to exact her revenge on the passenger who bullied her father, who had kept calm throughout the verbal assault.
She made a six-minute video of the exchanges between the passenger, whom she dubbed PoliteMan, and her father and posted it on the Facebook page of All Singapore Stuff on Saturday.
The 27-year-old woman, who works in the media industry, did not mince her words in the text accompanying the video and gave the passenger a taste of his own medicine by using colourful language to describe him.
The video has gone viral, with more than 500,000 views, 5,800 likes and 15,000 shares by last night.
As expected, many netizens were outraged after viewing the video, with strings of invective accompanying their criticism of the passenger's behaviour.
Some even decided to identity the passenger. Yesterday, his alleged identity was posted online with other information such as his phone number, employment details, Facebook account and LinkedIn profile.
It could not be confirmed whether the details are accurate. His Facebook and LinkedIn pages have since been closed.
Attempts to reach him on the listed mobile number were unsuccesful.
Yesterday evening, the daughter responded to The New Paper's attempts to contact her by sending a Facebook message that contained a media statement.
In it, she called for a stop to the "hate and bashing" towards the passenger. She said that while the man was wrong to disrespect her father, she had no malicious intent in releasing the video.
"People make mistakes and we can only choose to become a bigger person and forgive them for it," she wrote.
Requesting anonymity to protect the privacy of her family and to keep her father out of trouble, she said she did not post the video to create a "witch-hunt to prosecute a person".
"The intention was to highlight the difficulties taxi drivers face and the lack of policies to protect taxi drivers from bad passengers," she added.
When contacted over Facebook, she said that she was aware that the man's alleged identity has been making the rounds online but declined to verify it as her father cannot divulge the information.
She said her father, who is in his mid-50s, had been driving for five years and this passenger was definitely the most abusive he has encountered.
The incident happened on March 13 when he went to pick the passenger at his Chai Chee block after receiving his booking.
"WAVE WAVE WAVE"
But the passenger had gone to the main road and he did not realise the former was waving at him. When he got to the taxi, he scolded the cabby and said: "I from there wave wave wave you never see me?"
He brushed off the cabby's apology and explanation and continued his rant.
After he got in, he objected to the cabby turning on the metre and demanded that he do so only on reaching the main road or he would complain to Comfort.
He then demanded that the cabby take him to Telok Ayer MRT in less than 10 minutes at peak hour.
During the ride, he called the cabby a "blind bat", which was among the mildest of his insults.
He continued chiding the cabby for allowing other vehicles to overtake them or cut in their lane as well as for turning up the air conditioner.
Throughout the video, the driver was heard apologising several times and reminding the passenger that he had to drive safely but all this fell on deaf ears.
At one point, the passenger said: "I have every right to dictate how you do it (drive), especially when you are hogging... Now I'm the one paying. So you listen to me."
The daughter said her father gave the passenger a $5 discount at the end of the journey.
Her father also reported the incident to Comfort immediately because the passenger had threatened to make a complaint.
In the video, the daughter pleaded for people to respect taxi drivers.
She wrote:"Taxi uncles are not idiots, deaf or useless, they are someone's family. They are fathers who work 14 hours a day, seven days a week, even on public holidays, so people like me and my sis get an education."
In her statement, she said that she hopes for a happy ending to this incident and that the man would come out to apologise to her father.
But she told TNP that he has yet to come forward to contact them.
She added that if the man apologises to her father, "we'll always be happy to have dinner with him".
WHAT FACEBOOK USERS SAY
Sherlyn Foo : Taxi uncle! Hang in there! You handled the situation well and deserve a pat on your back!
Presley Tay: Cabbies are not your slaves. Yes, you pay them but they don't owe you a living. Do you know what is safety comes first? Learn to ask and talk politely.
Marilyn Ng: Almost in tears at the end. To think that this verbal abuse is actually not illegal?!?
Khairulnizam Yusoff: I would have just stopped at the side of the PIE and told him to get out. Then he'll realise he's just a passenger and the taxi uncle is the boss.
Sam Chua: Seeing such a well-tempered uncle get bullied really makes me furious. Please hug and sayang your dad for me.