Day Cabbie

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

She seemed like a nice enough person

A guy and a girl got in at the airport. I think they were in their mid to late 30's. The girl might have been a little older than the guy. They both seemed upbeat.

"We're not going far," the guy said. "We're going to the Uhaul station near the airport. Do you know where that is?"


"I have directions." He handed me a Mapquest printout.

"Thank you."

According to the printout, the Uhaul station was only two miles from the airport. It was the shortest fare from the airport I had ever had.

"What are you doing at the Uhaul station?"

"Moving her to Vegas!" the guy beamed. "Well, she's moving herself. I can't drive. Too many DUI's!"

"Woops." I looked at the girl. "So you live here now?"

"Yeah, I lived here all my life."

"You lived in the Bay Area all your life, and now you're moving to Vegas?"

"Yes." She giggled.

"She met that special guy!" the guy beamed.


"Do you live in San Francisco?" the guy asked me.


"Are you a hippie?"

I paused. "No."

"A tree hugger?"

"No. But I do care about the environment. That's why I drive this green cab."

"Sorry, I shouldn't say tree hugger."


We were on El Camino Real in San Bruno now.

"I'm surprised there aren't any gays," the guy said, looking around. "I thought they would be everywhere."

"Not here," said the girl. She giggled but it was an uncomfortable giggle. To me it felt like the giggle of a person who wants to be supportive of their companion but at the same time thinks that he or she is being an ass.

"I thought they would be everywhere, you know," the guy said to me. "Those gays, you know."

I didn't know what to say.

"How did you guys meet?" is what I said next.

"Drug rehab."

Green Cab wins Best Low-Emissions Transmission

Last week a photographer from the Guardian visited Green Cab. I was just getting off my shift, and the photographer asked if I would like to be in the picture for the Guardian. Always the ham, I said sure.

And yesterday that picture appeared in the paper. Green Cab won Best of the Bay 2007: Best Low Emissions Transmission.

I'm glad I wore something green that day.

An unexpected Lolita

A guy flagged me down at Mission and 29th. I had just completed a series of U-turns and somehow ended up in the right place at the right time, to give this guy a ride.

"Can you take me to Webster and Sacramento, please?" He said this with an accent, which I thought might be Arabic. But I'm not very good at detecting accents. 9 out of 10 times I mistake people from London for Australians.

"Sure. The medical building?"


We were both quiet for a long time. He smelled really, really good. It was a very sweet smell, the kind I would wear on myself. I like sweet perfumes. I wanted to say to him that he smelled like cotton candy. But it felt weird to say something like that.

As we passed the Turk street sign on Webster, I couldn't take it anymore.

"Are you wearing cologne?"


"Are you wearing cologne?"

"Yes, uh, I am."

"It smells really good. I like it a lot."

"Oh, thank you. It's Lolita Lempicka. It's French."

"What is it called?"

"Lolita Lempicka."

"I really like it."

"It's like chocolate, cocoa,..."

"Yes, it's very sweet."


"Is it for men?"

"No. It's for women."

"You're wearing women's perfume?"


"That is so cool."


"I have never met a guy who wore women's perfume. I think more guys should do that. It's awesome."

"I know many guys who wear women's perfume."

"You do?"

"Yes, many."

"I love it."

"Thank you." I think he giggled a little bit. I thought I heard a sound of amusement from the backseat.

He gave me a huge tip.

Apparently there are many guys who wear women's perfume. Why haven't I met any of them?

I swear to god

I was driving home another taxi driver at the end of his shift. Let's call him Tack. He was in the backseat.

"Somebody smoked crack in this cab!"

"How do you know?" I turned around.

"There is crack on the backseat!" He was holding a piece of white matter between two fingers.

"Really?" I made a wincing face.

Tack put the white matter on the center divider between the two front seats. He got out his lighter.

"See, here," he said and tried to light the white matter with the lighter.

"How do you know?"

"Never mind," he said, "if it was crack, it would melt. It's just a crumb."

I continued making a wincing face. A few minutes passed.

"I swear to god, there is crack on the backseat!" Tack put another piece of white matter on the center divider between the two front seats. He tried to light it again. It didn't melt.

"Maybe not," Tack said. "You should vaccuum this car.

"If it really is crack, will the police be able to arrest me?"

"No. It's on the backseat. You have nothing to do with the backseat."

"Okay, good." I decided not to vaccuum the car. A few more minutes passed.

"I swear to god, Vera, somebody smoked crack in here!" Tack continued pulling pieces of white matter out of the backseat and putting them on the center divider between the front seats to show me. And to light them. I turned my head to the right and down to look at it. This one melted a little bit.

"See!" Tack yelled victoriously.

"Is it really crack?"

"I swear to god."

"Wouldn't the cab driver have known?"

"Maybe he smoked with them!"


"You never know."

Maybe somebody had smoked crack in the backseat of the car I drove that day. Tack certainly seemed very excited about the possibility.