Taxi Drivers

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When traveling in a foreign country, it may be common to use a taxi to go from place to place. Your experiences with taxis might be either positive or negative depending on the driver, especially since some can be rude and greedy. In foreign countries, they may even take advantage of how you are a foreigner and charge you more money, expecting you to know little about the currency of their country to the point where you give them the extra money out of confusion. In general, sometimes taxis can be rough. But, according to Korea, you can get much worse in return for riding a taxi than simply handing over a few bills.

It all started with random rumors in the streets that taxi drivers were doing illegal activities. According to the gossip, it was that some drivers were kidnapping people and harvesting their organs to earn more money. It was said that because of how little they get paid, some of the drivers began turning to drastic measures. Some also speculated that people wanting to steal people's organs could easily take up the job of a taxi driver to lure people easier. It would be simple for them to do- they just welcome the person inside of their car, drug them, and then drive off somewhere to do the dirty work.

The rumors grew until stories were told of this actually happening. One of the most popular stories is that of a screenshot of a conversation from KakaoTalk. KakaoTalk is a messaging application on phones that people use to text and call each other, similar to other messaging apps. This screenshot became very popular with the help of social media and people sharing it among their friend groups.

Here is what is said to be a screenshot of the text messages:

Here is a rough translation of the text messages, the person on the left being referred to as A, and the person on the right being referred to as B:

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Here is a rough translation of the text messages, the person on the left being referred to as A, and the person on the right being referred to as B:

A: Don't take taxis around city hall. Someone my friend knows had to go into surgery yesterday because his kidney was taken.

B: Gasp.

A: He got on a taxi while drunk.

B: His kidney?

B: Gasp;;;;;;;;;;;;;

A: Someone put a needle in his neck. He lost consciousness and was defenseless. When he came to, he was bleeding from his stomach and abandoned in a farm field. He was taken to a hospital and they told him one of his kidneys were missing.

According to the texts, a "friend of a friend" was drunk and took a cab to get somewhere. The drive took a dark turn when he was stabbed in the neck with a needle and drugged, losing consciousness. When he came to his senses, he woke up in the middle of a field, presumably that of a farm. Pumping with adrenaline, he rushed to the hospital and the doctors discovered that his kidney was removed.

Although it sounds like a nightmarish situation, the screenshot could have easily been fabricated. Nowadays, it's easy to get a friend in on a joke and make them text random things so that you can take a photo of the messages and pretend that it actually happened. There are even apps and websites specifically made so that a person can create fake messages back and forth. However, many people fully believe it and think that this is still happening today, probably due to how sensationally terrifying it is. This has caused many Koreans to be hesitant before stepping into a taxi, especially when this legend reached news stations.

It even grew to the point where local police departments did some investigations towards this possible crime and found no evidence whatsoever of anything bad happening. But, even with these reports, some people still refuse to put the legend to rest.

In fact, there was a report of a drunk man coming home after a long night of drinking. Too intoxicated to think straight, he called for a cab and reeled into the backseat. During the drive, he got a call from his wife. When he told her that he was in a taxi, she briefly mentioned the urban legend. Upon hearing this, he took matters into his own hands and jumped out of the moving taxi, breaking his arm in the process.

Even though this legend hit Korea the hardest, this concept is definitely popular in other regions. The idea of waking up in an icy bathtub without one's kidneys is both thrilling and gruesome, which causes it to be frequent in horror movies and scary stories.

So, maybe before you decide to hail a taxi, maybe you should consider a bus instead- they are more economical in Korea, after all.

Plus, it's better than being chopped up in my opinion.

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