Hurricane

These taxi drivers might be your ‘rescue team’ during Hurricane Matthew

ADR Taxi Cab drivers Will Reeves, right, and Stormy Bessent pose beside their cabs on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Beaufort. The duo will work through Hurricane Matthew, which is expected to start impacting Beaufort County later this week.
ADR Taxi Cab drivers Will Reeves, right, and Stormy Bessent pose beside their cabs on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Beaufort. The duo will work through Hurricane Matthew, which is expected to start impacting Beaufort County later this week. wlivingston@islandpacket.com

It’s slow today, just one call so far.

Not like yesterday, when Will Reeves made seven airport runs.

Not like yesterday, when Stormy Bessent stayed on for a second shift - what should have been her day off.

“Y’all working?” a man shouts across the Waffle House parking lot in the cab drivers' direction.

“Twenty-four, seven, 365,” Reeves replies.

He smiles, white teeth under a navy blue baseball cap.

He and Bessent stand next to their bright pink cabs - ADR Taxi Cab - and talk about the previous day's work.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island graduated a new crop of Marines on Wednesday - the ceremony was pushed up because of Hurricane Matthew.

Graduation days are good days, money-making days, the cab drivers say.

Reeves went home with about $570 “on the books,” and Bessent made about $300 - even though she ended her shift early.

An average day's shift -which is 12 hours, beginning at either 4:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m. - might net a driver between $250 and $300, according to Reeves.

Reeves made seven “long-distance runs” to the airport Wednesday - a couple of families up for Parris Island graduation, and a Marine who was deploying from the depot to a Georgia base because of the storm were three of his fares.

“If you just want to get away from Beaufort, the airport runs are good to go,” Reeves says.

Still, he prefers to bounce around in town. Less gas. More fares.

Reeves’ family has evacuated to Ridgeland - they might end up in Florence if the forecast worsens.

Bessent’s family is still in the Beaufort area. She doesn’t have any plans to leave, either.

“We’re not going nowhere,” she says, motioning toward Reeves. “We'll be the rescue team.”

Both drivers will work through the storm. And, Bessent says, for some people that might be a life-saver.

Her company doesn’t always charge a fare, she said, in the event there’s an emergency and a customer doesn’t have the means to pay for a ride.

That’s something the drivers are proud of.

“I’ll be here,” Reeves says.

He and Bessent smoke their cigarettes, and wait for the next call.

Wade Livingston: 843-706-8153, @WadeGLivingston

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