Indigenous musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingi has had a sour ending to what should have been a glorious moment for the performer. Having just wrapped up a support slot for Missy Higgins on Tuesday night, Gurrumul planned on leaving the venue, only to be shut down by a taxi driver.
According to Gurrumul’s manager, Mark Grose, speaking to 774 ABC Melbourne (Via SMH) the following morning, the cab driver “looked at Gurrumul, said ‘No’, locked the cab and drove off”.
Grose had hailed the cab out front of the Palais Theatre in St. Kilda for Gurrumul, who has been blind since birth. Apparently, the taxi waited out the front but as Gurrumul and his girlfriend came out to the street, he refused the fare instantly.
“Like most Aboriginal people we work with, he has experienced [racism] before. You are just absolutely heartbroken for them. It’s happened a couple of times in Sydney and it’s happened in Darwin,” Grose continued to comment.
An attempt to track down the driver has failed, but there are no surprises there says Victorian taxi inquiry chair Professor Allan Fels, who has stated to Radio 3AW: “The bigger message from this is that the system works very poorly, the standard of service just has to be lifted so that that kind of thing doesn’t happen”.
Grose posted about the incident on Facebook, attracting more than 500 comments, concluding “Surely not in Melbourne, but sadly yes”.