Ethics

For the week ending 15 July 2006 / 19 Tammuz 5766

Cautious Cabbie

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I sometimes take a cab to an important appointment that I am in a hurry to reach. The impression I get from some cabbies is that they are overly cautious when it comes to crossing an intersection when a traffic light is about to change from green. As I nervously look at my watch and see the precious seconds passing as we wait for the light to change to green (and at the meter registering a higher fare!), I cannot help thinking that I would have made that light. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: While we can empathize with your frustration in the situation you describe, we must point out why you have no justified cause for being upset with your cautious cabbie.

Crossing an intersection when the light is about to change is a risky business. If you are wrong in your estimation you face not only the danger of being fined for passing a red light, but also the peril of being involved in an accident with a pedestrian or another car. Although you feel confident of avoiding both of these dangers when you are driving, it is unfair to expect your cabbie to take the same risk. It should also be remembered that, unlike you, the cabbie drives for a living and cannot afford to take chances.

So just sit back and relax and be happy that you will reach your destination safe and sound.

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