Day Cabbie

San Francisco taxi stories from one of the very rare female drivers

My biggest tip so far

On Friday I was driving around another cab driver. He asked

“What was the biggest tip you ever got?”

“You mean percentage-wise or the dollar amount?”

“Dollar amount.”

“I think maybe ten dollars?”

“Eh, that's nothing.”

“I know.”

He ended up giving me one of the smallest tips I have ever received. It was basically a negative number.

But today I got a tip worth mentioning. I had just stopped at the OfficeMax on Geary and Arguello to fax my timesheet for the freelance work I have been doing and was getting back in my cab to keep going. This tall skinny guy, probably about 50ish, was standing on the corner. He had just lit a cigarette. When he saw me get in the cab, his body jerked around and he tried to open the door. I said

“Sure, but no smoking in here.”

“Of course. First I need to go around the corner and then to North Beach.”

“So you want me to make a U-turn?”

“No, it's just around the corner on Clement.”

He had me stop at a computer place called Cyber-something on Clement. He had just bought a new laptop but the first night he had it, he said, his friends had messed it all up and he had needed to get it fixed. He told me that he was pretty illiterate when it comes to computers. He said he was the bass player in a band.

When he came out of the computer place, he said

“Can we go back to OfficeMax? I don't have the right router.”


“Don't worry, I'll make this worth your while. I'll give you like fifty bucks or something. I can afford it.”

“I'm not worried.”

I waited outside of the cab while he was inside OfficeMax. It was really hot. When he returned, he handed me a cold bottle of water.

“I got you a water.”

“Thanks! How nice. Now to North Beach?”

“Yeah, Columbus and Union. Actually, almost at Columbus and Bay.”


After talking about his laptop some more, he said

“You know what? We'll be on Franklin, right?”

“Yeah, I was going to take Franklin.”

“Okay, I need to pick up my laundry from the dry cleaner's. It's on the way, on Van Ness between Union and Filbert.”

“Which side of Van Ness?”

“This side. So you'll want to make a right on the street that's one past Union and then a right on Van Ness.”


While we were driving up Franklin, he told me what a great job the guy at Cyber-something had done on his laptop. He had made his life so much easier. He had gotten rid of Internet Explorer and installed Mozilla Firefox for him. And he had asked him what his favorite music was and had put some of that on there for him.

“How much did it cost you?”

“$120. I gave him $200.”

We picked up his laundry at Big Bubble Laundromat on Van Ness and then got back on Franklin towards Bay. Around Franklin and Lombard, the meter was around $18. He handed me two $20 bills. And then he handed me a five and three ones.

“There's $48.”

“Thank you!”

“Ah, it's going to be at least another $10 to North Beach. Here, and just give me those $8 back.” He handed me another $20.

“Okay.” I started digging in my purse.

“Nah, just keep it.”

“Thanks. You're a great tipper.”

“Yeah. Well, you guys don't have it easy.”

I had now received $68 from this guy. I dropped off him, his laptop and his laundry near Jones and Columbus in North Beach. The meter said $22.65.


At 9/18/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger wil said...

You'll get more of those as time passes.

Isn't it nice to be appreciated occassionally?

At 9/19/2006 03:18:00 AM, Blogger Cabbie X said...

My record is $280 on a $220 trip to Portland. The guy was pretty hammered, said he'd tip if I got him there quick. Took the normal 2 hours, he would once in a while wake up and ask how fast we were going. I told him 85mph each time, he seemed happy with that :)

Funny thing is, when we got there, he tipped me the $280 and told me I told great stories. I'd take the compliment, but we had spoken maybe 10 words the whole way, so the stories were in his head.

At 9/21/2006 05:51:00 AM, Blogger William Hancock said...

Good for you Vera.


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