IF YOU reckon you’ve just about had your fill of drunken festival revellers, spare a thought for Craig Lucas.
The Brisbane St taxi rank security guard has seen it all – he’s been punched, propositioned and even been offered bribes by punters eager to get to the front of the line.
But through it all, there’s one lesson Mr Lucas, who commandeers the cab rank from 8pm to 4am each night of the festival, has learned – the art of diplomacy.
“Ninety-nine per cent of people are happy drunks but you get the odd person who wants to cause trouble,” Mr Lucas said. “They demand to be put in a cab or they try and slip me a $50 note to get to the front of the line.
“People that are kicked out of the pubs, they all end up here. You quickly learn how to deal with intoxicated people.”
He’s seen some doozies in his time.
Like the drunk mates who were giving each other running shoulder charges as they walked down the street.
“The first time he missed his mate and crashed-landed right into the middle of the road,” Mr Lucas said. “I thought he was in strife but he got straight back up, ran headlong towards his mate for another shoulder charge, missed him again and crashed right through the window of Ray White.”
Or the time the rodeo was in town and the cab rank was full of cowboys in ten-gallon hats.
“It was 2.30am and for some reason, one of the other guys in the rank decided to tell one of the rodeo boys the hat made him look gay,” Mr Lucas said. “Well it was like a grenade going off – a brawl erupted.”
He’s seen plenty of brawls and occasionally been stuck in the middle of them.
“I’ve been punched in the face, spat on, abused,” he said. “But you have to keep a cool head. You’ve just got to keep a close eye on people and be diplomatic.”
Last festival, a patron even slapped Mr Lucas with an assault charge after he was caught up in an incident.
The charge was later withdrawn but it taught him a valuable lesson.
“If you’re a security guard inside a pub, you’re allowed to control people inside that enclosed area,” Mr Lucas said. “But a taxi rank is a public thoroughfare and we’ve got no power here. You just have to keep your wits about you.”