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Immigrant Taxi Drivers And Private Investigation
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March 24, 2009, 09:11 PM
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For some reason, foreign taxi drivers have completely displaced native Americans. This is from Robert B. Parker`s novel Taming A Seahorse, in which Boston private eye Spenser is in New York looking for a girl named April Kyle. In Boston, Spenser has his own car, but in New York, he`s relying on taxis:
At six-twenty Rambeaux came out of the house wearing a tweed coat with a velvet collar. There was a young woman with him. It wasn`t April. They walked to Second Avenue and caught a cab downtown. I drifted along behind them and caught the next one.

"I can`t think of a slick way to put this," I said to the cabbie, "but follow that cab." The driver turned toward me and said, "Where you go?"

"Follow that cab," I said.

"La Guardia?" he said. "Grann Central? Waldorf?"

"Allez-vous apres ce taxi?" I said.

He shook his head. Rambeaux`s cab took a right turn on 75th Street.

"Never mind," I said and got out of the cab and started across Second.

"Som a beetch," the cabbie yelled after me, out the passenger window.

"Sonova," I said. "Son… of… a… bitch. Short i."

The cabbie pulled away, spinning a little rubber as he went. I walked back to the St. Regis. Follow that cab. It seemed simple enough. Used to work perfect for Richard Arlen.

[Taming A Sea-Horse ,Robert B. Parker, 1986]

Spenser goes on "The next morning I went over to the Hertz place on West 56th Street and rented a tan Toyota Celica..." Driving in New York may be difficult, but speaking 160 foreign languages is more difficult. It is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to discriminate against people with foreign accents and limited English proficiency.