Day Cabbie

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

Earthquake Cake

A very unassuming-looking guy flagged me down at Valencia and 16th in the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day. Like most passengers on Thanksgiving Day, he was carrying some food. He was going to a friend's house on Liberty and Dolores.

"So you're bringing a pie?" I asked him.

"A cake actually."

"What kind of cake?" And this was when he turned from unassuming to debonair. He cleared his throat before answering as if he felt a tinge of embarrassment.

"Earthquake cake."

"Earthquake cake?"

"Yes. It's my grandmother's recipe."

"What's in it?"

"Chocolate, cheesecake, coconut."

"That sounds delicious." I seriously considered asking him if I could try a piece but restrained myself.

"It is."

"And why is it called earthquake cake?"

"Because there is this messy cream part in the middle that you don't expect and you don't see it until you cut into the cake."


"I had made it last year, and all my friends had loved it. So they asked me to make it again this year but I told them no, that I didn't have enough time to make it."

"But you did make it."


"So you lied to your friends in order to surprise them?"


Costume Cabbie: A date with

Costume Cabbie: My big media day
Originally uploaded by Verabug

Last week I was contacted by Gina from "I am doing some work for a travel-based web startup and would love to use your taxi services for a piece we are doing about SF," her digital words said. Always eager for media appearances, I said yes and agreed to meet her by the bow and arrow sculpture on the Embarcardero at 12:30. She said they would need about an hour and a half of my time.

Jeremy, the camera guy, filmed Gina getting into the cab, and then I drove both of them to Fisherman's Wharf. Then we drove up Hyde Street and down Lombard Street and through North Beach. The whole time I was being filmed (and the city too) while answering questions about driving a taxi, doing taxi tours, Green Cab, this blog, my costumes, etc. We also stopped underneath one of those green Green Street street signs, which I have been meaning to do since I started driving for Green Cab. And we did another interview with me standing next to the cab in an alley on Russian Hill. Finally, we picked up a street flag to film and interview her briefly about what she thought of Green Cab and the Costume Cabbie. This was a long shot, but somehow we found the perfect person on Montgomery and Sutter.

Jeremy is going to review and edit all the footage he got, and the piece will eventually go up on

At one point Gina asked me "Do you find that people open up to you more because of the way you are dressed?" And later that day, towards the end of my shift, I picked up an older guy with a cane on California and Polk. He was going to 8th and Folsom. As we approached Folsom, I asked if he wanted to get out on the left or the right.

"I'm not sure actually."

"What's the place you're going to?"

He hesitated for a moment and then said "Mr. S Leather."

"Ah, cool. I know where that is." It's a leather, bondage and sex store.

"I wasn't sure if I should tell you but then I looked at you and figured you're safe."

"Yeah, I'm cool."

So yes, Gina, people do tend to open up to me more because of my appearance. Thanks again for the fun date!

Costume Cabbie: 80's Mall Goth Prom Queen

After an admittedly way too long hiatus, Costume Cabbie is back, but who knows for how long? I don't.

Today's Costume Cabbie episode was brought to you by my new vintage dress from Held Over. Its price tag said "80's Mall Prom Goth" and then the price. It had to be mine.

While waiting in line at the airport, I called my favorite cab driver.

"So what's going on?" he asked for the third time after I had already answered the question in two different ways.

"I'm wearing a costume today."

"A costume?"


"What kind of costume?"

"A black one--"


"Because it's fun."

"Why do you wear costumes?"


"To entertain who?"

"To entertain myself and to entertain my customers."

"I think it's time you got more serious."


"I think you need to get more serious."


"I don't think you take your job seriously enough."

"You don't think I take my job seriously enough?"



My sleeve was on TV

Sometime in mid-September, I was having lunch at an African restaurant when Thomas, one of the owners of Green Cab, called me.

"Where are you?" Thomas asked.

"Eating at California and Hyde."

"How quickly can you get to Civic Center?" I did some calculations in my head.


"They are filming something there, and they need a Green Cab." Now I was all ears. Filming!

"I'm leaving right now." With my mouth still full, I got a to-go bag for the rest of my falafel and ran to the car.

On the way to Civic Center, I talked on the phone to a guy named Liam who was to meet me there.

Two men waved at me when I drove slowly by City Hall. One of them had a camera on his shoulder. The one without the camera motioned to me to make an illegal U-turn. I looked around for cops, didn't see any and went for it. The one without the camera was Liam. He told me that the other guy would be filming him outside the car for a minute or so, then he would get into my car, and I would drive off with him.

The first time we did it, he stayed in communication with the other guy via his microphone. They agreed to do one more take. He had me drive us around Civic Center Plaza and go back to our original spot. The second time we did the routine, he had me drop him off at the next corner. He thanked me and told me that this little segment was going to be in the Going Green episode of the CBS show Eye on the Bay and was going to air on October 17th at 7pm.

I don't have a television, but my friend does, and we watched it together on October 17th, and yesterday he finally put my first TV appearance on YouTube. Enjoy.

Patience for the girl with the wig

It was about 6:30 am, and I had just started my shift the morning after Halloween night and was sitting in line at the taxi stand at the Marriott on 4th Street when I heard an order over the radio for Jackson and Jones. I decided to take it and sped off.

When I got to the address I asked the dispatcher to call the person out. About five minutes later, a guy came out of the building and waved at me. I unlocked the doors but he stood outside of the passenger side door. I rolled down the window. He said "She's coming right out." I said "Okay."

I entertained thoughts of a Halloween one-night-stand. I wondered if she was going to be drunk and have smeared make-up. I wondered if she was ever going to see him again.

About another ten minutes later she finally came out. She was wearing a red dress, black fishnets and a black long-haired wig. She looked really cute. I could tell by the way she was staggering towards the cab, that she was intoxicated.

"You must be really tired," she said.

"I'm not actually. I slept all night. I just got up."


"What about you? Were you up all night?"

"Yeah. And now I'm done."

She told me that she lived in India and was visiting friends for a few days. The house I had picked her up from had been a friend's house. Her friends were still partying, she said, but she was done.

She had me take her to the little alley called Brady, near 12th Street, between Market and Otis. That's where she was staying with other friends.

"I'm going to have to throw rocks at their window, so that I can get in and get money and pay you."

"Oh, you don't have any money on you?"


"What if they don't hear you?"

"They will have to. Otherwise how am I going to get in?" That's exactly what I wanted to know.

I stopped on Brady when she told me to stop. I put on the hazard lights and she got out. She stood near the left rear corner of the car. She bent down to pick rocks off of the ground and threw them. Pitch patch, they made. She looked up hopefully. She bent down again to throw more. Pitch patch. She looked up again.

I was watching her in the rear view mirror. The hazard lights were flashing on and off, illuminating her and Otis Street behind us, on and off, on and off. I felt like I was in a movie, mostly because she looked like a movie star in her wig and red dress.

A car appeared from behind us and squeezed by in the narrow alley. It pulled over right in front of us. A tall guy in an orange worksuit got out of the car. I think it was a costume, some kind of astronaut or toxicity specialist costume. I wondered if he was sober. The girl talked to him for a minute. I saw her smiling.

She walked over to my window and said "That's the owner of the building. He is going to let me in."

"Wow. How lucky that he came by just now."

"I know. This whole time I was having faith and I was throwing rocks. I knew I was going to get in somehow. And then he showed up."

They disappeared into the building. The meter kept ticking. After another five minutes, she came to my window again and asked "How much do I owe you?"


"Okay. I'll be right back." I couldn't believe she hadn't gotten the money yet. But I wasn't upset. Somehow she and the situation fascinated me, and I wanted to stick around to see what would happen.

Another few minutes later, she came out again and handed me a twenty through the passenger side window. The meter was now at $16.70.

I asked her if she needed any change back. She asked for two dollars back. And that's how it ended.