Being a city girl at heart, the fact that I now would have to worry about which cab I’m waving down is one thing. But then the thought of having to tell the cabbie (who, by the way, took forever to wave down during that Manhattan afternoon rush hour) that I cannot be in his cab after a waft of peanut proteins smack me in the face (IF I’m lucky enough to not have a cold or stuffy nose at the moment) really pisses me off…especially since I can already see him rev his engine to speed off in anger because he simply does not understand.
NYC, please don’t take away my wings…
Although there is no need for me to present the possible dangers of snacks vended in taxis and limousines (as I’m sure most of you are very aware of the consequences of ingesting, inhaling or touching peanut, tree nut or soy products if you have a peanut allergy, tree nut allergies or soy allergies) I will go over a few imaginative, but likely scenarios that are haunting me and giving me agita.
The Problem With Vending Machines In Taxis
People with life-threatening allergies face ignorant, cruel and sometimes stubborn reactions from people who don’t understand and don’t experience it for themselves or have seen the symptoms of anaphylactic shock first hand. For this reason, the idea of a taxi cab vending machine is more than just scary–it becomes a matter of life and death.
Sure, people use cabs to get where they need to go quickly, without walking the 20 or 30 blocks to and from their jobs or meetings. Or maybe they just spent the day running from audition to audition in three inch heels, waiting on a mile-long line (in the freezing cold or sweltering Summer, take your pick) just to hand the casting director a photo and resume only to move on to a photo shoot 30 blocks downtown in Soho, with a 50 lb makeup toolbox to drag around. These are the moments when I thanked God taxis existed.
The biggest problem of ignorance and carelessness would likely happen at night, when most cabbies are utilized by the incoherent and inebriated party-goers enjoying a night on the town.
I know, I was one of them. I know I got hungry after downing my two Long Island iced teas (I know, I know…lightweight). For those of you who don’t live in New York, the problem here is that Penn Station trains to Long Island don’t run after a certain hour after midnight, so if you miss your train at 1:14AM, there will not be another train until about 530AM. For most people, the most cost-effective and convenient option is to grab a snack and go, hence why these vending machines will be very popular…and very dangerous.
No drunks are going to be careful. Putting foods and snacks in taxis and limousines is a lawsuit waiting to happen, since food proteins that could cause anaphylaxis in the severely allergic will likely be all over any consoles, side panels of doors and all over any other push-button devices embedded into the seat. People will nosh on whatever is edible, never paying a millisecond of thought to the next passenger (who happens to have peanut and soy allergies) who may unknowingly walk into the taxi, hoping to get an early start on waiting in line to see the celebrity performing on ‘The Today Show’ (Whitney Houston, circa 2002).
What I don’t understand, is, that once passengers get to Penn Station, there is a plethora of sobering food and snacks in the form of but not limited to 24 hrs of: a McDonald’s, two Starbucks, a Subway, a KFC, a Taco Bell and several delis, cafes and newsstands with (GASP!) a huge selection of candy bars for every 20 feet of whichever direction you walk.
Enter: My petition. Yes, I am going to email this to Mayor Bloomberg. Yes, I am going to do everything in my power to deliver the final copy of this petition to the powers-that-be in person; in this case, the powers-that-be are NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg and David Yassky, the Commissioner/Chair of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.
So please sign it and pass it on. You don’t need to show your name; you may remain anonymous to the Change.org webpage by unclicking the tiny box below the form.
UPDATE: Since I got less than 50 signatures, there’s not much that can be done.