Day Cabbie

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

Jessica from Portland

Today I stopped for lunch at the Herbivore on Valencia because I was craving their shawarma. I sat down at a small table. At the small table next to mine was a girl about my age, studying the menu, also by herself. After both the girl and I had ordered, she turned to me and said

"Excuse me. Do you know the best way to get to Fisherman's Wharf from here?"

I asked her if she was driving. She said no and that she was going to try to take BART or walk. I chuckled, and she asked if it was difficult to get there.

I said

"No, it's just that I'm a taxi driver, and my taxi is right outside. I can take you there if you like."

"After we're done eating?"


"About how much will it be?"

"About twelve dollars."

"Okay. That sounds good."

We chatted a little while we were eating. She was visiting a friend who had just graduated from UCSF. Today she was checking out the city while she had a little time to herself. She said she hadn't been to San Francisco in over ten years. I also found out that she doesn't eat wheat because it makes her nauseous.

After we were both done eating and had paid for our food, I asked her if she was ready. We walked outside and across the street to my taxi.

"The green one?"


"It's cute."

"I know."

"Can I sit in the front?"


"I feel like I know you now."

I took Mission Street, turned left on 7th and took Leavenworth all the way up to Fisherman's Wharf. That way I serendipitously got to show her Lombard Street even though I hadn't even planned for that.

I asked her if a friend had recommended Herbivore to her. She said no and that she had been looking for Cafe Gratitude instead. But she had gone the wrong way from the BART station, towards Valencia instead of Harrison. That's how she had found Herbivore.

"And that's fine," she said, "because that way I also found a ride to Fisherman's Wharf."

When we got to Fisherman's Wharf, the fare was $13.90. I told her that I was only charging her $12 because that's what I had told her it would be. She gave me $17.

We didn't exchange names until the very end.


At 6/08/2008 12:07:00 PM, Blogger Julie said...

That's really cute. You made a friend :) I didn't know you were allowed to have people sit up front with you as a cab driver. Pretty neat.

At 6/08/2008 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Vera said...

In San Francisco, a driver is allowed to have anybody of the same sex sit in front; a person of the opposite sex only if they ask for it/initiate it.

This guideline was put in place mostly to prevent cab drivers from hitting on their passengers.

At 6/09/2008 08:15:00 PM, Anonymous Teff said...

That is such a nice story :) I really enjoy reading all that you experience as a cab driver.

At 6/12/2008 03:32:00 AM, Blogger Lucky said...

what a great lunch break. strange front seat rule. in new york, we are mandated to let people sit in the front if they need to, but still it's not advised of course.

At 12/09/2008 03:53:00 PM, Anonymous Brad Newsham said...

These stories are great, Vera -- I write some of my own, too, and I always wonder if people will get bored with them, but in reading yours, which sound pretty similar to mine (it's a genre, after all -- cab stories) I keep thinking, "These are great, and I don't get tired of them..." So, encouraging for me -- thanks -- Brad Newsham


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