In which I was possibly almost kidnapped?

Today I called Bushwick Car Service, one of NYC’s many “gipsy cab” services, and went to the corner to wait for it. Car service cars are typically black Buicks, but sometimes they’re tan or silver. A car at a stoplight honked, and I waved, signaling that I had called. The car that pulled up wasn’t a Buick though, and didn’t look like any car service car I had ever seen.

“Are you with Bushwick?” I asked the driver.

“Yeah, Bushwick,” he replied. I eyed the car skeptically. Typically car services will have a laminated driver ID next to the passenger rights livery on the back of one of the front seats, but there was nothing. Also, the car was a silver, 4-door coupe, with little space between the front and back seats — very unusual for a car service.

“Where’s your medalion?” I asked the driver.

“It’s on the back.” I walked around to the back of the car and spotted a Bushwick Car Service sticker with the company’s number listed. Not what I was asking for, but English clearly was not his first language so I gave him the benefit of doubt. I felt silly for being skeptical in the first place, and got in the car. He began to drive.

“I’m going to North Third between Wythe and Kent,” I told him.

“Is that in Manhattan?”

“No… it’s in Williamsburg. Do you know how to get to Bedford?” I found it odd that he didn’t know the most common streets in the next neighborhood over.

“No. Do you have a street address?” he asked, gesturing to his GPS that was powered off.

“How do you not know where Bedford is? It’s the most common street in Williamsburg. If you don’t know how to get there I think I need another driver.” Beyond being annoyed, alarm bells were going off in my head as the car carried me farther and farther away from my home. Then the driver looked back at me and said:

“Why don’t we just go in the bushes instead?”

Why don’t we not. I opened the door and jumped out while the car was still moving.

In retrospect, I should have trusted my gut from the get-go. How easy is it for any creep to slap a sticker on the back of their car and pick up unwitting women to take off into the bushes? I don’t know if there is something about me that acts like a magnet to crazy people, but I feel I have had more strange encounters than the average New Yorker. If anyone has any theories, I am all ears. Seriously, I don’t get it.

I called Bushwick Car Service back and told them I had called a car to my cross street. The driver had been waiting at the cross street on the other side of my block.

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