Day Cabbie

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

When a drunk made my day

He ran into the street at Mason and Eddy and waved me over. He looked like a bum. My prejudices were surprised that I was pulling over, but I was. I wondered if he had any money but I also knew from experience that even bums (or people who look like bums) only flag down cabs when they actually have money. The people who end up ripping you off don't look like bums. It was a slow day anyway, so any fare was a good fare.

He looked surprised that I had stopped too. When he got in, he thanked me. I can imagine that some cab drivers might have passed him by, and again, that's my prejudices talking.

"Valencia and 14th, yeah, that's it," he said with a slurred speech and then "Merry christmas and happy new year and you're beautiful!"

"Thank you," I said and smiled.

"How is your day going?"

I rounded the wide corner that swallows Turk at Taylor and Market and noticed that he reeked of alcohol. Maybe he wasn't a bum, maybe just a drunk with bad hygiene.

I told him that my day had been okay, how about his. He said that he had seen worse, he had seen better, did I know? I absolutely knew. That's exactly how I was feeling that day.

We chatted a little about New Year's, and after everything I said, he said "Yeah, alright, okay," perhaps to let me know that he had understood or perhaps to let himself know that he had understood. It made the conversation easy-going and pleasant.

He commented on female cab drivers, and how there weren't many. He said he was glad he had a woman today because most of the men drivers, they weren't nice to him. My prejudices could imagine that some cab drivers weren't very nice to him. In fact, they could imagine that most people weren't nice to him. And if I had been around him for more than this seven minute cab ride, I might not have been nice to him either. I felt sad for him.

He had me pull over at the liquor store on Valencia and 14th. He said "I am going to give you a huge tip. I am going to make your day."

"Awesome," I said and smiled.

"Well, I might not make your day, but I am going to give you a huge tip."

I wondered what he meant by "huge tip." I have seen other people's "huge tips" be two or three dollars.

The fare was $7.60. He gave me a twenty and got out of the car. To me, that qualifies as a huge tip. And you know what? It totally made my day. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to tell him that.

Things that made me smile today

My first passenger, at 6:45am, was a little old lady with a cane and a hunched back. She was on her way to her volunteer job.

"I make sandwiches for homeless people," she told me.

She said they usually don't expect her until 9am but she likes to get an early start, and it's okay if she shows up early. It takes her about two hours to make all the sandwiches. It's usually about 50, but sometimes 60. The homeless people pick them up around 4pm. She is long gone by then. She said the sandwiches are made every day. She makes them on Mondays and Thursdays; other people help out on the other days.

"That's a really nice thing to do," I said.

"Yeah, it gets old folks out of the house. And it gets them thinking about something other than themselves."

A little later I had an Australian couple in their 60's in my cab. The guy sang along with all the RnB songs the radio was playing. And he called my Prius my "little Prissy."

Then I saw a Volkswagen Beetle parked on the street whose license plate said LASAGNE.