Yes, if you puke, you pay....more!
Years ago, my good Korean friend Woong-Jae told me that he puked inside a cab the night before. We were laughing when he told me that the cab driver had to pull out some tissue paper for him to wipe his vomit off from the taxi cab floor. Eeeww! I think he gave the driver more than his cab fare to make up for that smelly mixture of soju and what he just had for dinner an uncleaned portion of which the driver had to wash off later. Talk about leftovers. Ha-ha-ha!
My friend was lucky. At that time, he got away by paying more than his actual cab fare with some apology. These days, my good friend and all the drunk passengers in Seoul should be more careful.
The Seoul City Government, as lobbied by the Seoul Taxi Association, has imposed a fine of KRW150,000 for every passenger that pukes inside a Seoul cab. Yes, even if you're a tourist, if you puke, you pay.
The cab drivers must have had enough of this. We all know that the drinking is part of the Korean culture. Although everyone loves to drink every night, it's usually on Friday and Saturday nights when everyone drinks until he or she passes out, or when the sun rises the next morning, whichever comes first. Ha-ha-ha!
Try heading to Gangnam on a Friday night and see if you can get a cab at midnight. You can see drunk people dangerously hailing a cab in the middle of the busy street late at night, or worse, you may see drunk people behind the wheel! Another Korean friend told me years ago that he had to pay about KRW 10 million to a few people because he accidentally hit them as he was backing up his car one night after drinking. He was too drunk to think straight and just drove away without even looking at the back.
There have been a lot of cases of drunk people, including celebrities, getting arrested for driving under the influence. Well, I guess if they puke inside their own car, they wouldn't be penalized. But if they kill a pedestrian or hit another vehicle, that's another story. That's why there are many DUI (driving under the influence) check points all over the city at night.
So, the next time you drink, make sure you don't drive. Hire a driver for the night! And if you're taking a cab going home, bring a disposable plastic bag! Or an extra KRW150,000! Ha-ha-ha!
And if there's a penalty for vomiting inside a cab, why isn't there a fine for puking on the sidewalk! There's a lot of these, too!
Calling Mayor Park!