While looking at Big Quinn and Godzilla, the bald driver forced a smile and asked Li Du, "Young man, these three aren't the three friends you were talking about, right?"
Li Du nodded. "Yeah, it's them."
Noticing that the driver had an unpleasant look on his face, Li Du thought he was frightened by Big Quinn's glare and Godzilla's physique. "Don't be frightened. These fellas are all good-tempered."
The bald driver took out the 500 dollars that he had just received and handed it to Li Du. "Sorry, young man, I won't do this business."
"Why?" Li Du asked. "You can rest assured: these two are my assistants and I know them very well . . . "
"Not doing means not doing," the bald driver impatiently interrupted. "You nag and nag. No." He very quickly cooled down and said, "No. I mean I'm really not doing this business."
"Why?" Li Du asked again. "You have already accepted the payment. Why did you say that you aren't doing this business?"
The bald driver replied, "I thought you were alone. You see, there are so many of you guys with so much luggage. I'm making too much of a loss at 500 dollars."
Li Du responded, "No worries, I will pay you more. Four people and this luggage, how much?"
The bald driver pondered for a while and said, "2,000 dollars will be needed for this."
Li Du felt that the price of 2,000 dollars for 170 miles was too much. "Isn't 2,000 dollars too expensive? How about 1,500 dollars?"
The bald driver shook his head. "Cannot, cannot. It has to be 2,000 dollars."
As this sum of money was considered little to Li Du, he was too lazy to say more and responded, "Alright, 2,000 dollars, let's go."
Hearing his words, the bald driver was stunned. "Ah? You don't think it's too expensive?"
"More expensive is fine," Li Du replied. "I'm rushing to get home."
The bald driver gave him a troubled look. "Young man, 2,000 dollars is indeed pretty high. I suggest that you get another car."
By this time, Li Du had already become aware that something was amiss. Initially, the other party was very happy to do his business. Now, after seeing Godzilla and Big Quinn, he'd tried every means possible to refuse his business. There was clearly something wrong here.
Instead of taking the 500 dollars, Li Du leaned against the copilot seat and said slowly, "What exactly is going on? Brother, give me a clear explanation."
The bald driver took a look at Hans, Big Quinn, and Godzilla, who stood outside, and smiled bitterly. "There's nothing to say. I just don't wish to do business with foreign devils and hence, do not wish to do business with you."
Li Du could not force him.
He took back the 500 dollars and got out of the car. Hans asked, "What's wrong?"
Li Du explained the incident to them. Big Quinn became unhappy and said, "That's racial discrimination. In America, if drivers reject a customer because of their race, they could be sent to court!"
Hans nodded. "Yeah, racial discrimination. Moreover, he discriminated against three races: Caucasians, African American, and Mexicans."
Li Du chuckled, "But I feel that this is still rather good. You Americans have discriminated against us Chinese. How's that? The feeling of being discriminated against isn't nice, right?"
Since this car would not drive them, he went to search for another car.
Most of the cars in airports were taxicabs, which were too small for Big Quinn's and Godzilla's physiques.
While Li Du was wandering around, a Honda CRV pulled up. The driver asked, "Brother, looking for a car?"
As Li Du felt that the car was still pretty reliable after taking a look at the space inside the CRV, he said, "Alright, I would like to go to Qi Meng county. How much?"
The driver replied, "500 dollars."
"There are four of us and some luggage," Li Du added. This time around, he had to spell out the number of people first.
The driver said, "Then that will be a bit more expensive. Since I have a good feeling about you, 600 dollars.'
After doing some calculations, Li Du said, "600 dollars isn't expensive but your car may not be spacious enough. Do you want to find another car for me? I will give everyone 600 dollars."
Hearing his words, the driver became elated and happily replied, "Sure."
Very soon, another white Honda CRV drove over. With that, the combined space of the two cars was definitely enough.
Li Du brought along the others. The driver lowered the car window. "Brother, let me make the situation clear to you first: you have to pay me upfront. I would like to talk about the worst case scenario first. I am afraid that you will not pay up after we have reached the destination"
"No problem," Li Du agreed without waiting for the driver to finish speaking.
After driving the car to the front of Hans and the others, the driver was taken aback and asked, "There's a total of four of you guys. These three are the other three people? Foreigners?"
Li Du nodded. "Correct. Friends from America."
Without saying another word, the driver stepped on the gas pedal and drove off.
Li Du became dispirited. "What the f*ck is going on?"
Hans stared blankly at the car that was disappearing in the distance and bellowed, "Racial discrimination! This is racial discrimination!"
As both cars had driven off, Li Du had no choice but to find another car. This time around, he found a small bus. He made the situation clear straight away. "Four people, three Americans, going to Qi Meng County."
The driver pondered for a while and said, "This will cost 2,000 dollars. Is that okay?"
Li Du nodded. "I can pay you first. However, I must clarify: four people, three are Americans. One Caucasian, one African American, and one Mexican."
"Sure, I'm fine with Americans and Mexicans. Just no aliens will do," the driver joked,
Li Du asked, "I pay you first?"
"Pay half as the deposit and pay the other half when we reached the place."
Li Du sighed. "You are fair in the way you do business. Earlier, I found a Buick whose driver also wanted 2,000 dollars from me. Despite that, he still didn't want to drive us in the end."
The middle-aged driver laughed and looked like he had something to say. However, after opening his mouth and shaking his head, he did not say anything.
This time around, everything went smoothly. After carrying the luggage onto the spacious bus, the four of them boarded.
Hans, who was still angry, sat down and muttered to himself about how unfriendly it was and how it hurt Li Du's overseas friends.
As the driver did not understand Hans's English, which had an Arizona accent, he asked, "This mister from America seems to be very unhappy. Is there any problem?"
"He isn't talking about you," Li Du replied, "he's talking about earlier. There were quite a few cars earlier that had initially agreed to drive us. They refused to after seeing them. My friend thinks that it was racial discrimination."
The driver stepped on the gas pedal and drove the bus forward. He hesitated for a while and spoke only after the bus had left the airport. "You tell your friend that it wasn't racial discrimination, but it was because of their race. Anyways, you guys have fewer problemsyou weren't cheated."
"What do you mean?"
"Were the prices offered by those cars very cheap? And required you to pay first?"
Li Du nodded. "Yes."
The driver snorted. "Those sons of bit*ches! They are unlicensed cars that specialize in scamming non-locals. They take your money first before driving you out and dropping you off at a random place."
"Initially, they agreed to drive you as they thought that you were an easy target. After discovering that there were foreigners, they could only come up with an excuse to weasel out of the job as they did not dare provoke foreigners."