Boston PD Slaps Cab Driver for Kid Sleeping in His Backseat

josephcohenA Boston cabdriver is avoiding a suspension, but he earned a slap on the wrist for driving away with a seven-year-old sleeping in his backseat after dropping her parents off at their home.

This despite the family’s immense thanks when he drove the little girl back to them after getting an alert from another cab driver about the frantic family looking for their kid.

With news that this was an exhausted family just back from a very long trip home from Haiti, it sounds like this whole thing was nothing more than an unfortunate accident. Fox News in Boston reports the family of six got out of the minivan, the cabbie helped them unpack their bags, and they simply failed to notice their daughter asleep across the backseat (and with that extra row, driver Joseph Cohen missed her too). It was less than fifteen minutes later that Cohen got the call asking if he had the child, so these parents weren’t diddling around.

Cohen was facing a three-day suspension, but police have backed off (no doubt helped by the family’s gratitude toward him for returning their daughter, still sleeping, immediately) and told him simply to be more careful next time.

But if someone’s going to be punished, why would it be the cab driver? He’s not, after all, the parent who forgot their kid.

Boston is a city where the police have ultimate control over the taxis (still technically called by the throwback name of hackney carriages, by the by), and according to PD rules, “Hackney Carriage Drivers shall, immediately after delivering any passenger, inspect the Hackney Carriage for any property, which may have been left behind by the passenger(s).”

Which means Cohen was technically in violation. But when’s the last time you took a cab and saw the cabbie hop out to check out the seats to ensure you didn’t leave a trinket behind . . . forget a child? Those rules might be there to make families feel safer, but they’re hardly realistic in big cities where fares often follow fares – with folks grabbing an open cab just as soon as someone else alights from their seat.

And I’m still not convinced that a cabbie should be responsible for ensuring parents count their kids when climbing from his vehicle. He’s not their parent. He’s the guy hired temporarily to transport the family from point A to point B, with no means of accounting for how many children you have or their whereabouts at every second. As he’s pulling out your suitcases, your child may well have run into the building – and that’s your responsibility.

Do you think the cabbies should be checking seats for sleeping kids or should that rest with the parents?

Image: MSNBC

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