at Habtoor Crossroad, Beirut/Lebanon (33.870010 35.537770)
We are two women. Our car was parked at the crossroad at Habtoor in front of another 6 XXXTaxi cars. They did not have their drivers in them. While one of us (me), in the passenger seat, was trying to close her door, a taxi driver approached (he was wearing the uniform), with his pants down and penis out. The second one who was driving panicked and drove out immediately as she worried about what is coming next.
After locking the door and going on the road, I called XXXX Taxi to report the incident. Their first reaction was that their cars do not park where I have told them. They asked for proof. We went back in the car, did five tours around the scene trying to catch a picture of the car and the driver, we were shaken and we did not want a confrontation. When XXXX Taxi were still being not helpful, we decided to park and get out and find the driver. There were two new drivers, not our guy, standing there when we were looking for the exhibitionist. One of them asked us if everything is okay. I said no, but that I had already reported it to XXXX Taxi, so the administration knows what happened. He asked and what was that. So I told him that his colleague just flashed us a few minutes ago. He asked how do I know that he is a driver. So I told him it was the uniform and that I managed to snap a picture from afar. But that the administration is looking for proof. I showed him the picture, and he gave me the name of the man. Which is when the man who flashed us came to ask what are we doing. I did not respond and took my friend and left to the car.
I called XXXX Taxi again with the new information. They did not offer any arrangement. I called with the help of a friend. They told us that the management is off on the weekend, so they cannot take a decision. We asked them to suspend the driver until monday. They did that. On Monday, they called saying that the management spoke to the guy and he said he did not do it. So they let him go because it is a word against word.
Now, we did not expect any better. But this is what we want in case XXXX Taxi is wondering:
- A better reporting mechanism and staff that are trained not to ask inappropriate questions
- An apology for the way they have handled the issue
- A contract that addresses harassment for drivers and puts a concrete mechanism to go about such reports.
Finally, while there is no guarantee that the driver would not exhibit his penis to other people again, we think that had there been a proper mechanism and a conversation with the administration that did not let him off the hook, it would have been a good preventative measure. Otherwise, the ease with which our complaint was dismissed indicates that drivers can get away with zero accountability.