I have mixed feelings about taxis. On a good day, the conductor will help an elderly lady cross the road. On a bad day, that same guy will steal from an unsuspecting passenger.
You can expect just about anything when you get into a taxi.
A few weeks ago, I got robbed in a taxi on a Sunday. A Sunday! But before we delve into my predicament, let me say this.
I was born and raised here. I know all the tricks in the taxi code of thievery. I know that I shouldn’t get into the front seat (it’s the most vulnerable seat). I also know that I shouldn’t adjust anything on behalf of the conductor.
Suffice to say, I did both these things. I got into the front seat. I adjusted something I wasn’t supposed to.
On this day, I had a camera, a laptop and my phone. And, as soon as I close the door, the conductor says that it is not properly closed. Like a good passenger, I try again.
Still not good enough. He says that I need to use more energy otherwise, the door will not shut. Now, I’m concerned about my camera and laptop. I pull them closer.
“You need to fasten your seat belt,” he says. Nobody fastens the seat belt in a taxi in Uganda. I know what he is planning. I’m about to get mugged.
When he insists on the seat belt, I tell him to stop the vehicle. I need to get into the back seat. You know, the seats without seat belt issues.
I get out and wait for the conductor to open the passenger door. He does not. Instead, the vehicle speeds off.
At this point, I’m grateful that I got out when I did. I stop another taxi and jump into the back seat. Then I notice that my phone is awfully quiet. Not even a message? I check my bag.
Ten minutes later, it is nowhere to be found. I ask the passenger next to me to call my number. It is off. Then, it dawns on me. I just got robbed. At what point exactly? Probably when I was taking instructions from the conductor.
Typical taxi robbery story. I know!
Like I said, on a good day, taxis are the best. This time, it just was not the case.