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Last year I was taking a taxi from the Gayrettepe metro station to work, in Ulus, every morning. I would end up getting this one cabbie (in his early 60s, tall, salt and pepper hair) about once or twice a week. This one morning he started talking to me, and I thought he was just being friendly, which many cabbies harmlessly are. At one point, however, he put his hand on my thigh. I was wearing a dress for work, and I was sitting diagonally behind him. At first it didn’t register – maybe because of shock or just disbelief. Anyway, he removed his hand and kept talking to me, but then put it back. At that point, I put my hand on top of his and removed it, but was still nervous and not quite “getting it”. I think I also felt vulnerable or scared because I knew I couldn’t just get out of the car on a highway road. Disgustingly enough, he gave me a discount on my cab fare, and as I walked into work and shared the story with a colleague, I began to realize what had happened and began to feel incredibly disgusted that the gesture was some sort of pleasure seeking behavior for him. What I learned was to always sit directly behind the driver when I get into taxis, and also got a suggestion from another friend to be aware of how cabbies tilt their rearview mirrors, which apparently are occasionally tilted in such a way that they can see a woman’s legs. While I wanted to report him to his taxi center, this coincided with my last week at work and I didn’t see him again when I came out of the metro. I learned a good lesson, although find it sad that now I’m always on guard, even though most of my cab drivers have been very kind and helpful.
Today I was walking home from work, as I do 5 days a week, the same busy route. Nearing my street, there is always a line of taxis (right by Taksim Square), and while passing by, the parked taxi right next to me honked its horn. Startled I turned to see the man in the front seat pawing at the window, hanging out his tongue and his passengers laughing and calling out. It were as if he were an animal in a cage trying to get out because he saw something he liked. Seriously guy, you are an animal. Great job.