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Taxi driving is dangerous work

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February 18, 2008

Albany-- For 30 years, J.J. Jackson has loaded up luggage and hauled people around Albany in his taxi cab. "You ain't getting rich out here, just keeps a little bread on the table," he told us.

This manager at Friendly Cab Company says being friendly is one key to being safe. As he took one customer to the airport, he easily made small talk. "They had that tornado watch and warning all night long. Did you watch it on TV?"

Jackson will carry on a conversation with anyone who's willing. "I meet more good people than I do bad people," he said. When he does come across someone who doesn't seem so good, he's extra careful. "Sometimes you meet some friendly and some not so friendly, but the ones that are not so friendly I try to hurry up and get them to their destination so I won't have any problems with them."

He's been lucky, nothing more than a few folks who ran off without paying over those 30 years, but the danger is out there. In November 2005, Albany cabbie Jake King was murdered by someone he picked up.

Some city council members in Atlanta are so concerned about the hazard, they want to force cab companies to install bullet proof partitions or surveillance cameras in every taxi.  Jackson says that's not something Albany cabbies could afford. "That would be very nice for us to have and everything, but it's very expensive and it'll cost a lot of money and everything," he said.

Without that extra protection, he'll continue to depend on his friendliness and his faith to keep his safe on the job. "The good Lord has been with me all this time, and I know he will continue to be with me."  

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