Dear black cab drivers

When you see an elderly man in a wheelchair and his carer hailing your cab, please don’t turn off your light and pretend you haven’t seen them or cancel their booking app request. Especially not in the pouring rain when the elderly man in the wheelchair may get completely soaked, catch a bad cold and be prevented from going out for a week or so.

And if you do stop for them, please don’t huff and puff when you have to get out of your cab to set up the wheelchair access ramp. These ramps are designed for easy opening and it takes all of 30 seconds.

When you‘ve set up the ramp, please be kind and help them into your cab. Presumably this is all part of the black cab service and is reflected in the higher costs of hailing a black cab.

Ham & High: Shelley-Anne asks black cab drivers to be considerate of their passengersShelley-Anne asks black cab drivers to be considerate of their passengers (Image: Shelley-Anne Salisbury)

Once they are settled in your cab, please don’t slam the door in a way that suggests you are annoyed or that they are too much trouble but you have to put up with them. Believe me, they don’t want to feel the extra weight of being your burden. They carry their burden around with them all day.

And when you set off, perhaps you could engage in some light banter and ask how they are doing? Please don’t make them feel unwelcome passengers in your taxi. You are the means by which the elderly man in the wheelchair can temporarily escape his limited world. So, please make him feel comfortable and part of the wider world when he is out and about in it.

If I seem angry, it’s because I am. You see, the elderly man in the wheelchair is my 86-year-old father, who has suffered with multiple sclerosis for the last 45 years and is now suffering the indignities of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. The unholy trinity as we call it.

So, the next time you see my father and his fantastic carer (and anyone else who relies on your goodwill for whatever reason) please show them the respect they deserve. Surely that’s not a huge ask?

Thank you

PS: This plea is obviously not aimed at those few exceptionally kind black cab drivers who have gone out of their way to help my father - you know who you are and I extend my gratitude.

Shelley-Anne Salisbury is a mediator, writer and the co-editor of Suburb News,