This has never happened to me before

A complete stranger was polite to me this morning, while both of us were looking for a taxi.

I arrived first at the corner and was looking for a cab. A moment later, a woman darted out from between two parked cars upstream from me and started looking as well. As she was looking around, she saw me, and let me take the one cab that was headed our way.

As I got in, I looked back at her to thank her or to at least acknowledge her, but she had her hand up looking for the next available cab.

There are certain gray areas when it comes to taxi hailing etiquette, but if someone takes up a stance one car length upstream from you, you batten down the hatches and get ready for some verbal sparing over who gets the cab. That did not need to happen in this case because the woman respected the rules, and I want to thank her for that.

Whoever she is, “Thanks”.

News of this shocking event elicited a vigorous discussion of taxi hailing etiquette with my fellow co-workers. The native New Yorkers all agreed that if someone darts out two car lengths upstream from your hailing location, then you have the right to fight over that cab because it should have been yours (assuming, of course, that you were there first). Anything over two car lengths but less than five, you still have a legitimate claim to that cab, but by the time you get there to argue, the other person will be in the cab and on their way, so there isn’t much you can do. Anything over five car lengths is considered a different part of the block, and they are free to defend their territory as you would yours.

The native Long Islander said that any cab is anyone’s no matter where you hail it from or who’s around. “Survival of the fittest!” was his mantra. In his defense, he probably has not hailed a cab anywhere except in front of Penn Station or outside a bar when he’s drunk, so he doesn’t know what goes on in the morning rush-to-work-when-you’re-late.

Do you think the above etiquette is correct, far fetched, or somewhere in between? Anyone got any really bad horror stories when it comes to fights related to hailing?

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