I dragged myself to the Committee meeting room and took my seat in the row of speakers. Everyone was there for the same reason: to ask for funds for their program from the limited Tourism budget. My group, Taxis on Patrol, was asking for $7,000 to help fund an annual program which presented awards to cab drivers that had helped improve safety on Toronto streets. It also had a strong impact on improving the often-tenuous relationships between the cab industry, the city, and police.
My favourite Taxis on Patrol (“TOPS”) story was of a driver who saw a woman being beaten by a man on the street. He swerved to the curb and threw open his front door: the woman jumped in, he auto-locked the doors and just kept driving.
In our most famous file, a driver had a mother in the back seat whose fevered baby had gone into convulsions. The driver contacted dispatch who contacted 911 who walked the driver through every step to restore the baby to consciousness – we actually got permission to release the dramatic 911 tape of that event, and when it was played for Metro Council, several of the councillors were crying at the end of it. The baby lived. Read more