I wanted to keep yesterday’s report on my weekend in Yerevan positive, but my stay did end on a down note. And while perhaps it should not bother me, it really does…
When it was time to go, I had the Hyatt Place order a cab for me. If you go out and try to find a cab on the street, you’re either going to ripped off or endure a long negotiating session.
The flat rate from central Yerevan to the airport is 2,000 AMD (4 USD). That’s cheap, but the cost of living is much lower in Yerevan than in the West; it is not exploitation.
When we arrived at the airport, I only had a 5,000 AMD note. I was planning on tipping him 1,000 (you should have seen the look of delight that spread across the face of our cab driver on the way into Yerevan when we tipped him that).
Handing over the bill, I asked him for change. He nodded and told me to hold on while he got it from his car. He opened his car door as I waited outside…
…and floored it.
With tires screeching, the guy drove off with my 5,000 AMD!
Unlike in Zanzibar, I did not bother to chase the man. I just shook my head.
The issue is not the money. I would have given him the money if he had asked for it. Heck, this post will generate more than $4 so I am thankful (in a backwards sense) it happened.
But I was so disappointed. Such conduct is hardly a reflection on the Armenian people, but it certainly reinforces my viewpoint that cab drivers are crooked around much of the world.
Why steal from a tourist? Because you can? Because you saw me as a dupe for handing you over the money in the first place? Or do you think you were justified because I have more money than you? Do you not realize that order breaks down when everyone steals from one another?
I don’t care how destitute the man was or how privileged I am. You don’t steal. It is not justified. It is morally reprehensible. And frankly, it helps to explain why the cab driver felt such desperation to take what was not his. What goes around most certainly comes around.
To be clear, this was not a communication issue. The man spoke English and clearly understood I asked for change. He knew what he was doing.
I wish I could say the cab driver was “wicked” in the British informal sense (excellent, wonderful), but he was not. While I try to be generous and would have given the guy the whole 5,000 if he had asked nicely, there is absolutely no justification for stealing. I forgive the man, but hope that he will not get away with his next attempt to steal from unsuspecting tourists.
> Read More: Looted But Not Livid in Zanzibar