Day Cabbie

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

Irritability breeds irritable people

I was being irritable today, so people started acting really irritably towards me. I take full responsibility for attracting this kind of energy to my cab today, but I also need to vent about it.

I won't even mention the guy who honked at me and flipped me off when he was already half a block past me. I'm sure it was justified, at least in his mind. But there are two people I will mention.

The first one was another cab driver. He was in the cab behind me in line at the airport. I guess I was a little slow today. The first time we started moving, I had forgotten that I had turned off my car, so it took me a few seconds to get going, and he, I guess, didn't like that. Then, when we had to pay our parking fee, I took a little bit longer than he did, so he actually ended up in front of me, but then stopped to let me go first. I passed him and waved to say thanks. I really appreciate it when drivers remember who was first and maintain the original order. It's common courtesy and practiced by most drivers. But when I passed him he yelled "Come on!" I would have preferred "You're welcome" to my thank you wave but I can let this one slide. But then. After the line stopped again, he got out of his car, and as he walked by mine he said

"You're lucky that you're cute."

And then he just kept walking and left me sitting there with my mouth agape. I wasn't quick enough to say anything back to him but what I should have said is FUCK YOU. And what if I wasn't cute? Then what? Would you yell at me some more? Would you beat me up? Would you curse me for being a little slow today?

I was really, really angry at this guy. I don't want to mention words like sexist or sexual harassment, but I felt that that comment was not only unnecessary but also completely inappropriate.

And then there were the two ladies who flagged me down at the California Pacific Medical Center. I think they tricked me out of my tip but I'm not completely sure. I might be wrongfully accusing them due to today's irritability but here is what happened.

The first lady said

"We need to go to 101 California but I only have ten dollars."


"If it gets to be more than ten dollars, you can just let us out at ten dollars."

"Okay. I don't think it's going to be more than ten dollars."

"Well, sometimes it isn't but sometimes it goes up to eleven. I do this ride a lot."

"I see."

I decided that I would just take the ladies to their final destination and accept the ten dollars even if it was a little more. It ended up being $9.85. So I didn't really get a tip. I saw the two ladies giggling after they got out. Maybe I'm just paranoid but here is what I suspect happened:

The lady who did all the talking gets into cabs all the time and says "I only have ten dollars." It seems smart because I suppose it ensures that the driver will hurry up and get her where she is going as fast and as cheaply as possible.

I am perfectly happy foregoing my tip if somebody is really short on cash. But I have a feeling the lady played a trick on me (and regularly plays it on other drivers as well), especially since she said she does this ride all the time. I found it a little suspect that neither of the two ladies had more cash OR a credit card. They could have paid with a credit card!

Here is why this trick is messed up, if it was indeed a trick:
- Wanting the fare to be ten dollars or less, I started speeding.
- I got practically no tip. Cab driving is not a very high-paying profession, even including tips.
- If there had been traffic, which would have been out of my control, the fare would have been higher, and she would have cheated me out of my tip AND part of the fare.

Maybe in taking this ride all the time, she noticed a difference in price and blamed it on the cab driver going too slowly or not taking the most direct route. The "I only have ten dollars" is one way to keep the driver in line. But as a rule, the driver will be in line anyway. Such a measure is not necessary. And it robs the driver of his tip and possibly more. I really hope that the lady was telling the truth and this was a one-time occurrence. If she did this regularly, that would be very irritating.

A recommendation

Cab drivers love to pull up next to another cab and say something. What results is a mini exchange between two people of the same profession; then you move along.

Last Thursday I had a little time before picking up my regular customer Luc, and I hadn't eaten yet. I got a salad from Mixt Greens and then ate it in the car near Luc's location. I parked in a yellow zone on Clay between Kearny and Montgomery and put on my hazard lights. Even cabs aren't allowed to park in yellow zones, but if we turn on the hazard lights we might get away with it because the meter maids might think that we are loading, i.e. waiting for an order to come out of a building.

I noticed that a Yellow Cab was parked behind me, also in the yellow zone, also with hazard lights on. I also noticed a new Indian restaurant to my right. I decided that I wanted to eat there soon.

After a while of sitting there eating, a man came out of the Indian restaurant and got into the Yellow Cab behind me. He pulled out of the parking spot, and when he was next to me--I think both of our windows were already rolled down--he said

"If you like Indian food, you should try this place sometime."

"I love Indian food! I will definitely try it."

"Good. A friend of mine just opened it."

So today, Monday, I went there for lunch. I didn't park in the yellow zone this time because it feels too risky when you don't stay in the car. Instead I parked a couple of blocks away, on Washington and Montgomery. When I walked up to the restaurant, I noticed another Yellow Cab in the yellow zone with the hazard lights on and the trunk open. "Looks like they're loading," I thought.

Inside the restaurant I ordered Paneer Tikka Masala and sat down. And that's when none other than the cab driver from last Thursday walked by.

"You came to try it!"

"Yes, I did."

"Thank you. Have some tea."

I found out that the owner of the restaurant is his best friend.


Originally uploaded by Verabug

Life can be so amazing. This morning the sunrise over the Bay Bridge was really beautiful. A red light made me stop at just the right time and place. I got out my camera, rolled down my window, took a couple of pictures and then reviewed them on my camera screen. That's when the red truck stopped to my left caught my attention. All three guys sitting in the front seat were looking at me. That picture alone was priceless. But then they all looked at me with raised thumbs and question marks on their faces. They wanted to know if the picture had turned out. I nodded and smiled, and they seemed pleased. I rolled up my window and sped off and couldn't stop laughing. Guys in trucks make my day sometimes.