South Florida's cabbies are inching closer and closer to joining the elite ranks of bomb disposal technicians, 50 Cent's bodyguards and those insane fishermen from "Deadliest Catch." There sure don't seem to be that many jobs more hazardous to your health these days than driving a yellow and black around Miami's streets.
When Rosario Esposito, a 62-year-old Hollywood cabbie, was shot to death last month, it marked the fifth South Florida taxi driver murdered on the job in the last six months. From Miami Springs, to South Miami to the parking lot of the Bass Museum in South Beach, Miami's thugs lately have taken a particular shine to capping cabbies in their taxis.
The latest example of why not to go into the passenger-ferrying business in Miami came just last night.
Just after midnight, according to a police report sent to the New Times, a taxi driver picked up two Latin men at Biscayne Boulevard and NE 5th Street. He thought they were restaurant workers heading home after closing time.
When the cabbie stopped at the corner of SW 14th Avenue and 4th Street, he felt something cold pressed against his neck -- never a great feeling if you're driving a cab in Miami. He turned around to find one of the passengers holding a Taser to his face.
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Things got worse. As the cab driver struggled to wrestle away the Taser, he rolled out of the cab with the passenger. The cabbie managed to struggle free and ran toward a green car driving down the street for help. Unfortunately, the car seems to have been the robbers get-away ride. Instead of helping, the driver almost ran over the now completely terrified cabbie.
After he dodged the car, the two robbers tackled the cab driver, tried to shock him with the stun gun -- which failed to go off, fortunately -- beat and kicked him, took his wallet, and left him lying on the ground. For good measure, the green car's driver got out, walked to the stunned cabbie, and punched him repeatedly before driving off with the thieves.
They left the cabbie lying on the ground. Wondering, no doubt, when exactly his trade turned so freaking terrifying.
-- Tim Elfrink