A few weeks ago I rode in a yellow NYC cab driven by a woman. I opened the door, slid in, and said I needed to go to La Guardia Airport and I needed to be there as soon as possible. She replied, “Ok,” and I couldn’t help but tear myself away from my text conversation and peek across the sliding glass frame, surprised. ‘Oh, it’s woman,’ I thought to myself, ‘Hmm.’
15 minutes later, when we got to La Guardia – woman drove like a crazy person – I put away my phone and pulled out my wallet to pay her. As I did, she hopped out of the car – and I say hopped because she literally sprung out, she had a wiry frame and couldn’t have been more than 90 pounds – and headed to the back of the car to open the trunk. And a thought struck me… ‘She’s going to grab my bag for me,’ I realized. ‘That’s weird.’
I hurried out with the money in my hand and handed it to her before she could grab the handle of my 2-ton, over the limit, suitcase. I reached over and dragged it out, and dropped it – wheels down – with a loud clunk. I couldn’t let her carry my bag out for me – she was a woman! Older than me. And definitely weaker than me.
Totally baffled, I stood in line for United’s self-service kiosk. What do men do when they’re driven by female cabbies? Do cabbies usually help you with your bags out of chivalry or out of good service? What if the woman is super strong and bulky? Then is it okay to let her get your bag? And would I have let a skinny, weak-looking male cabbie grab my bags? What is the overlap between gender equality and chivalry?