SINGAPORE - The stocky, medium-built cabby watched helplessly as Mr Aaron Jeremiejczyk swung a punch at Miss Dawn Ho.
Mr Justin Tan, 55, a limo driver with SMRT, told The New Paper last night: "I felt so guilty and sad that she got hurt because of me.
"I was scared so I couldn't be of much help. I did not want to get hurt. So all I could do was call the police."
Mr Tan said the trouble began when Mr Jeremiejczyk and two of his friends could not get a taxi.
They then approached the staff manning the limousine stand to hire a limo taxi.
The staff member and Mr Jeremiejczyk had agreed on a fare of $43 to get to Orchard Boulevard. However, when they got into his taxi, they began to bargain, Mr Tan alleged.
"They wanted to pay just $20 for the ride. How could they do that? They already agreed on the fare," he said.
Mr Tan said he then told them politely to alight and flag another taxi instead.
But Mr Jeremiejczyk refused and allegedly started hurling vulgarities at him. When he got out, Mr Jeremiejczyk, too, got out and according to the cabby, started kicking his vehicle.
That was when Miss Ho appeared and told Mr Jeremiejczyk to stop shouting at Mr Tan.
"I'm extremely grateful for her help. She was the only one who helped me when I was in need," said Mr Tan, adding that there were several people, including other limo drivers, around.
Mr Ricky Milleza, 43, who coordinates the limousine service at Sentosa's Beach station, said it is not uncommon to get rude responses from customers who enquire about the service.
The $43 flat rate, which takes passengers to any destination in Singapore, is not negotiable. There is an additional $10 for each additional stop and a $12 midnight charge.
The large limo taxis can take up to seven people.
He said: "About three in 10 customers would be rude and some even spew vulgarities. Sometimes it can be dangerous when you get drunk customers, especially late at night."
But there is nothing much he can do about it.
He said: "I have to bear with it because this is my job. So we have to keep our cool when dealing with them."
Mr Milleza was not on duty on Sunday night when the fracas happened.
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