Day Cabbie

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

Costume Cabbie: The Amy doll

It was Memorial Day. The End Up was open until 2pm. I spent the first couple of hours picking people up at the End Up and taking them to wherever they were going. I was driving for DeSoto that day. The first time I stood in the taxi line at the End Up, the Green Cab that I have been driving, number 914, pulled up behind me. I knew that Brad Newsham, who this blog has been linking to since its birth, owns the medallion for number 914. That Brad was driving for them had been one of many things that validated my decision to switch to Green Cab.

I got out of my car and knocked on the Green Cab's window. He thought I was a club kid that had come out of the End Up. Of course he did. I looked just like one.

"Are you Brad?" I said.


"Hi. I'm Vera Fleischer." I held out my hand. He looked at me befuddledly. I told him that I had emailed him many months ago and asked about his cab stories that had been published in the Chronicle and told him that I was an aspiring published writer of cab stories myself. That seemed to ring a bell for him. I also told him that I now drive his cab for Green Cab sometimes. We talked for a while, and he ended up giving me a copy of one of his books, All the Right Places, which I started reading in line at the airport later that day. It made me smile many times.

One of my fares from the End Up was a girl with luscious lips and a bearded hooded guy. They had just met. They invited me to join them for breakfast at IHOP where I dropped them off. I declined. They also invited me to play "slaps and tickles" with them.

"Did I say that out loud?" the guy said.

"Yes, you did, " said the girl.

Another fare from the End Up were two guys. After we dropped off the first one, I said to the second one

"So I have a crush on this other cab driver. I just heard his name on the radio, and now I'm feeling all excited."

"Does he drive for the same company as you?"


Later that day I picked up two guys from Portland at Sutter and Kearny. They had to go to the airport. About half-way to the airport, I noticed my pink and black arms and legs, and I was feeling a lot like a doll. I said

"What do you call those dolls that are modeled after celebrities? Just dolls?"

"Yeah, I think so. They are dolls."

"Like, the Brittney Spears doll?"

"Yeah. Why do you ask?"

"Because I look like my friend Amy today. I'm the Amy doll."

"So what's your name, Amy doll?"

"Vera." My mind blew for a moment, thinking about names and identities, actors and characters, souls and bodies.

At the end of my shift, the gas man said

"You look very nice today."


"It's like... wait. It's... it's the raver style!"

"Yeah. Kind of."

He looked at me proudly.

Cabbie discount

When I saw my friend Stephen on Friday evening, he said

"I was just thinking about you about fifteen minutes ago."

"How come?"

"I was at Farley's, and a guy walked in and ordered a coffee with the cabbie discount."

"Cabbie discount?"

"Yeah. He got a free coffee and just tipped the guy."

I have never heard of a cabbie discount. I wonder how many other places offer this. I intend to get to the bottom of this.

Green Day

My Green Cab id
Originally uploaded by Verabug.

Today I drove a Green Cab for the first time. It was super fun. I love that little Prius. It's so zippy and shiny and brand new. It reminds me a little of my Beetle.

I arrived at the lot at 6am and was greeted by Mark who gave me the keys and who taught me about the Prius because it's quite different from a regular gasoline car. Mark also gave me my Green Cab id! It was an awesome surprise. Apparently, Thomas had found some pictures of mine online and used one for my id. Normally you have to have your picture taken at Civic Center, but this worked out so much better! I love my id. And I love that I'm wearing green in it.

I picked up my first customer at Castro and Market. It was the sweetest old black man with coke bottle glasses. I said "Welcome to the Green Cab!" He said "Yeah, I thought you were the new cab on the block." He told me he used to drive a postal car, but that he retired in 1974. He told me that he had five children, eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He said that he had six sisters, but the oldest and the youngest had died already. He was now the oldest of his living siblings. He was going to a house in Hunter's Point.

When we got there, a woman greeted us. It was one of his granddaughters. He told her excitedly that this was a Green Cab, a hybrid, and that it was my first day and that he was my first customer. He sounded like a little boy who is telling his mother what happened at school that day. I told him that it was nice to meet him and we shook hands.

"Have fun with the Green Cab!" he said.

"I'm the new cab on the block!" I said.

I continued to tell all my customers that day about the Green Cab. I became an instant spokesperson. I never thought I would enjoy something like that, but I totally did. I loved putting out the word about Green Cab. I want everybody to start calling them: 415.626.GREEN.

I also loved how many heads I turned. I got attention everywhere I went. I could tell that people were curious about this bubbly green taxi they had never seen before. It made me want to wave at everybody.

I can't wait for my next shift.

This is what a Green Cab looks like

I had my second interview with Green Cab today. Things are looking good. I might start driving for them as early as next week.

Live from the airport

I make it a habit now of waiting in line to pick up a passenger at the airport after I have dropped somebody off. I ended up at the airport around 1pm today. I find the scene fascinating down there. That's why I recorded several videos today.

In the first one I was trying to record the sound of engines starting up as cabs are getting ready to keep moving, but right when I started recording, the cars stopped moving, so all you hear is some Arabic (I think?) being spoken around me and some commentary by me about which cab colors I like best.

In the second one you actually hear some engines starting up, some cabs leaving the lot and new ones filing in, and in the end you hear me say "Oh shit!" because I realized that it's my turn to turn on my own engine and keep moving. It was hilarious. But maybe you had to be there and be me.

The third video takes place in the last lot before the terminal, and I am starting to get very excited.

The last video was shot at the terminal. I was minutes away from getting my fare.

Ah, airport adventures.