Day Cabbie

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

Two crackheads get a free ride

A guy was standing at the corner of 7th and Mission, waving desperately. I pulled over. He hurried towards the van, and another guy was behind him. "Oh shit," I thought. When not one but two rough-looking guys get into my cab, I get a little bit nervous.

"What is wrong with you cab driving people? Why nobody ever stop for us?"

"I stopped."

"Yeah. Thank you."

They were very chatty. I was chatty back, to protect myself. I figured, the friendlier I am to them, the friendlier they will be to me. They were going to 26th and Florida.

The first guy had very wide eyes that seemed to almost pop out of his head. He was smacking his lips constantly. The second guy told me to take the freeway. He also asked me if I could take them right back to where I picked them up afterwards. I asked him how long he was going to be in there. He said three minutes. I said okay.

At 26th and Florida, the second guy got out and went into what I was told was his house to "get some money." The first guy stayed in the van with me. He told me about his job at the Moscone Center, "setting up and cleaning the bathrooms." I asked him if he liked the job. He said "Yeah, it pays $11.50 an hour. You can't beat that."

At one point, the first guy said, while we were waiting,

"See that gray building right there?"

"That one?"

"Yeah. I used to live there."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. I used to deal while I lived there."

"What did you deal?"



"But I don't do that anymore."

After what seemed like an eternity, the second guy returned from inside the building. He looked distressed. He said he had to stay because blah blah blah blah blah. But then he said "Man, I gotta go though." It was obvious that by "go" he meant go with us, back to 7th and Mission. "Can you wait like five more minutes?" I knew what three minutes were like according to his clock, so I told him that I had to get going. He said "Hold on" and disappeared into the building again.

The meter was about $16. I said to the first guy

"Do you want to get out too and wait for him here? The meter is just going to keep growing. You can just pay me for this now and then get another cab later."


He gave me a $20 bill. I gave him $4 back. Then he said

"Give me that twenty back."


"Give me that twenty back."

He held out the four ones to me. I gave him the twenty back and took the four ones. He tried sliding open the door.

"You have to hold the button on the handle."


"So I'm not going to get paid for this fare?"

He left the van. I didn't want to argue. I thought to myself Now you know why cab drivers never stop for you guys.

The coffee shop boy gets a free ride

When I'm not driving a taxi, I sometimes like to go to Maxfields House of Caffeine on Dolores and 17th. For a while, this guy with long blond hair named Clint worked there, and he always played the best music, usually dark, glitchy and bleepy electronic music. I must have commented on how much I liked the music he was playing every time I was there when he was working.

One time I was driving my taxi on Geary and Webster. Clint was standing at the bus stop. A bus was driving by and Clint looked at it frustratedly. It must have been the wrong one. I had already driven past him but decided to go back and offer him a free ride for always playing such nice music at Maxfields. But by the time I had made it around the block, Clint wasn't at the bus stop anymore. I was disappointed.

Sometimes I also like to go to Farley's at 18th and Texas. There is a guy who works there who once made an invisible friend comment to me that had made me laugh. Well, today I saw said guy standing at the bus stop at Haight and Buena Vista West. And guess what I did? I made a U-turn and pulled up at the bus stop.

"Hey. I'll give you a free ride."


"Because I know you. You work at Farley's."

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah. Come in."

"Are you going there right now?"

"No. But I'll take you there."


I found out that his name is Jay. I was happy to finally give a deserving coffee shop boy a free ride. And the best thing about Jay is that he is seriously considering becoming a cab driver himself.

I'm a DJ too

On the days I drive a car with a CD player, I am not only a taxi driver but I am also a DJ. I get to choose what kind of music to play for my passengers. And sometimes my choice of music makes for conversation.

The other day I was listening to the 101 album by Depeche Mode. A girl got into my cab.

"What's this, Depeche Mode?"

"Yeah. It's the 101 album."

"I love Depeche Mode."

"Me too. Unfortunately--you know how the 101 album is a double disc? I lost the other CD. Last week I was listening to it while driving, and I left it in the cab at the end of my shift and never got it back."

"Aw, that sucks. I think I lost that same CD too. It's disc b, right?"

"Yes! You lost that too?"

"Yeah, I did. I have no idea what happened to it."

"Wow, I feel so much better now. We're in this together."

A day later, I was listening to Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me by The Cure. A guy who seemed to only speak broken English got into my cab. We didn't talk. As he got out, he said "Nice music!" That made me smile for two reasons:

1. I was glad that he had enjoyed the music.
2. I already knew that he had enjoyed it. I could feel it.

Porn star

"Go to the Americana," said the dispatcher.

"Where is that?"

"121 7th Street."

"121 7th Street," I repeated

She was standing on the street in front of the Best Western Americana, waving at me. She was wearing a long white fur-lined coat and a beige dress underneath. Her hair was dyed blond and very short. I guessed her to be about 26.

"Can you take me to the nearest Walgreens or Rite Aid?"

"Sure. I think there is one on Market Street."

Her beige dress was very low cut. Her face reminded me of Natalie Portman's. When we were driving along Market Street, she exlaimed

"That's the club I dance at!"

"Oh really?"

"Yeah, that's my picture right there."

I looked over and saw two big posters of a girl with long hair. She told me that they were both her.

"Do you like dancing at the club?"

"Yeah, well, I'm a porn star."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah, it's cool. It pays well, and it's nice to go to different cities and have fans there."


"It's really hard on your body though. Exhausting."

"I'm sure."

She was very excited about all the stores in the Westfield Mall we passed on Market Street on the way to Walgreens. She said she would walk back to the hotel and go shopping.