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Well, thank God #9: Income Taxi edition

Fellow citizens, you can rest easier tonight knowing that the Miami-Dade County Consumer Services Department is out there protecting the people of their fair city from a grave and gathering danger — the danger of Miamians getting a lift from somebody other than a permanent, full-time, government-licensed taxi service:

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — A man who said he thought he was just helping a woman in need is accused of running an illegal taxi service.

Miami-Dade County’s Consumer Services Department has slapped Rosco O’Neil with $2,000 worth of fines, but O’Neil claims he is falsely accused.

I ain’t running nothing illegal, O’Neil said.

The 78-year-old said he was walking into a Winn-Dixie to get some groceries when he was approached by a woman who said she needed a ride.

She asked me, Do I do a service? O’Neil said. I told her no. She said, I need help getting home.

O’Neil told the woman if she was still there when he finished his shopping, he would give her a ride. She was, so he did.

— Local10 Miami (2008-05-09): Man Accused Of Providing Illegal Taxi Service

Here’s the reward O’Neil got for daring to commit this heinous act of human kindness:

As it turned out, the woman was an undercover employee with the consumer services department targeting people providing illegal taxi services.

She said the reason she targeted him (is because) she saw him sitting in his car for a few minutes, said Ellen Novodeletsky, O’Neil’s attorney.

After O’Neil dropped off the woman, police surrounded him, issued him two citations and impounded his minivan. On top of the fees, it cost O’Neil an additional $400 to retrieve his minivan from the impound lot.

There are no prior complaints that O’Neil was providing illegal transportation for a fee.

It’s not entrapment because she didn’t expect him to provide her transportation, said Sonya Perez, a spokeswoman for the consumer services department.

O’Neil claims he was just being kind and providing a ride to a lady in need.

There’s all kinds of possibilities, but the fact of this particular case, what our enforcement officers witnessed — because we had several on the scene, plus a Miami-Dade police officer — and all the information came back the same, that this was a business transaction, Perez said.

O’Neil said he never even discussed money until the woman insisted upon it.

She asked me, How much you charging? O’Neil said. I said, Anything you give me. She said, No, I need a price.

— Local10 Miami (2008-05-09): Man Accused Of Providing Illegal Taxi Service

Well, thank God, says I. The last thing that the dedicated public servants of the Miami-Dade County Consumer Services Department should permit is for consumers to actually get services. Some might say that they ought to let consenting adults alone, to make their own decisions about whether to get the transportation they need by calling a full-time professional taxi service, or by making arrangements with friends, or just by finding a nice old man who is willing to help you out that day on an informal basis, in return for a little bit of money for the gas and the time. That the county government has no business at all trying to force people into a particular business model of highly formalized, full-time professional transit businesses, if they would rather make other arrangements on their own time and on their own dime. But, really, since we already have a bipartisan caucus of legislators, regulators, and professional bureaucrats running behind us all, yelling You’ll put an eye out with that!, Don’t drink that; it’ll stunt your growth!, You’re not going out like that, are you?, and You keep your mouth clean, son, or I’ll wash it out for you with soap! — well, what could be more natural than for them to add a shout of Don’t you get in a car with that stranger! to the chorus?

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6 replies to Well, thank God #9: Income Taxi edition Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. Natasha

    This is something you’d expect to read about in reports from a fascist state.

    And am I the only one who finds it silly to imagine undercover government agents looking for black market taxi drivers?

  2. John Markley

    I’m disturbed by the whole idea that there are actually undercover agents hunting for unlicensed taxi drivers. The whole concept sounds like a wacky satire of Stalinist Russia.

  3. nicole

    There is a blurb in the June issue of Reason magazine about a women getting in trouble for driving her Amish neighbors into town once in a while for this same reason. They liked to give her money or homemade goods in exchange for gas and time. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission sent her a letter warning her that she was violating the law by accepting compensation for rides.

  4. Aster

    “But, really, since we already have a bipartisan caucus of legislators, regulators, and professional bureaucrats running behind us all, yelling “You’ll put an eye out with that!, Don’t drink that; it’ll stunt your growth!, You’re not going out like that, are you?, and You keep your mouth clean, son, or I’ll wash it out for you with soap! — well, what could be more natural than for them to add a shout of Don’t you get in a car with that stranger!”

    Of course, all of this language comes from the vocabulary most American parents use to children as the means of beating into them a certain patriarchal morality (always prudent instead of passionate), by which they are at all costs to learn to be useful to parents, society, the social system, or a God who highly resembles all these things- instead of to themselves.

    How many people really question this? How many people do not think that in order to teach a child to be ‘moral’,one must redirect their base natural instincts from selfishness and pleasure towards society and responsibility and duty? How many people do not think that the essence of moral behaviour consists in subservience to some transcendant deified ‘ought’ or some perpetual limitation of one’s own hurtful desires?

    How many leftist and libertarian critics of the status quo simply take their own place as thumping, loud-mouthed fathers, offering their own demands for justice according to the manner and form of parents scolding children? Even many explicit anti-patriarchs sound as if they’d like nothing so much as to bend patriarchy over one knee and give it a good hiding (or in Robert Jensen’s case, a long and gloomy masochistic sermon).

· July 2008 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-07-09 – Well, thank God #10: Got Milk? edition:

    […] while back in comments on GT 2008-05-14: Well, thank God #9: Income Taxi edition, John Markley […]

— 2009 —

  1. joe

    Chinese police have done such things a few times, once a gentleman gave a free ride to a woman who insisted on her stomachache, then fired him 2000 RMB (allmost a worker’s monthly earning), and in another case the police got 10000, it sounds China policeman can legally be awarded certain percentage of those charges. I personally think it might be a good way that uncle sam can get extra money in current bad eco, yet they need to send officers to China to learn more, such as the awarding percentage so to drive offices to do these kind of job.

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