Break the Chain Taxi!

Created 7/14/2004 (7/14/2004) Here we have yet another dire warning packed with horrifying details, but little fact we can use to verify it. It also contains many other tell-tale signs of urban legendry.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

I am sending you this warning - it is very serious and very true and I would feel sick if any of you got yourself into the same situation and I had known about it and didn't warn you.

Two weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine was put in an un-licensed cab outside Abacus at Bank by some of her mates she works with.

The cab driver kept getting phone calls on his mobile during the journey and when they got near her house, he drove straight past it while on a call. Worried, she called her mum and told her what was happening but the cabbie took her mobile off her. She was screaming and shouting at him but he punched her square in the face. She fought back and got her phone and called her dad who was understandably scared out his wits for his daughter. She managed to tell him where she was, she was being driven to Wansted Golf Course and was being taken down a dirt track. She kept screaming at the cabbie to let her out, hitting him etc then she grabbed the wheel and turned it as hard as she could and yanked up the hand break.

She then scrambled out of the window, kicking the cabbie as she was doing so and ran for her life.

I thank the lord she got out ok, well not ok really - plenty of physical scars not to mention the mental ones. My blood runs cold at the thought of what could have happened to her.

The police advised her that they believe there is a gang of sick b@stards operting where they pay sad stupid cab drivers to bring drunken girls to them for gang rapes and who knows what else. The calls he was getting on his mobile were clearly from the gang.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT GET INTO AN UNLICENSED CAB EVER AGAIN. KEEP YOURSELF SAFE AND NEVER LEAVE A CLUB OR PUB DRUNK ON YOUR OWN...................... IT MAY BE THE LAST THING YOU EVER DO!!!!!!!!!!!

Pass this on to all your girlfriends to help keep them safe too.

This is not a joke.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Like the rear window leaflet carjacking scheme, ether disguised as perfume abduction scheme, ankle-slashing gang member initiation scheme, shopping mall abductions scheme and the naked-in-the-restroom theft ploy warnings before it, this one incorporates many elements of urban legend:

  • The alleged "attack" occured to "a girlfriend" of the author - neither of whom are identified in the missive above.

  • While some idea of location is given, no dates or names that could be used to validate the story are provided. Even if we had this information, it is unlikely that there would be any media reports or police incident reports unless an arrest was made.

  • It describes a scenario that is technically possible and gives shocking detail, even though it presents no evidence beyond an unknown police organization's belief that crime was the motive of the suspects. No individual authority is identified, nor is there any mention of an arrest or trial.

  • The intended crime - abduction and "gang rape" - was not actually committed, only suspected by "the police" and the author.

  • While virtually anybody could fall victim to such a scheme, the warning is targeted at single women going to and leaving night clubs alone. Young, single women who choose to work, live, travel, shop and go out alone are stereotyped in legendry as being more at risk from clever criminals.

  • The solution suggested is simple, yet specific to the scheme as it is described and not general enough to be of any good use.

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While the letter's advice is to avoid unlicensed cabs (as if licensure would somehow prevent this crime), the underlying advice driving legends like this one is: "The world is a dangerous place for a young woman who goes out drinking, dancing, and otherwise having a good time by yourself - surround yourself with friends or a get a man to protect you."

Any person going out alone should be cognizant of his or her surroundings at all times. Planning ahead - designating a driver, scheduling a cab in advance, arranging a ride from a friend or family member - can go a long way toward staying safe. A bad method of protecting yourself is to rely on anonymously authored and haphazardly forwarded e-mail chain letters.

What Do You Think?

Category: To Your Health
References: None

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