The suspect dad
He flagged me down on Market between Franklin and Gough. There was something tentative about the way he flagged me down. I felt like he was hiding something. He had a stroller with him. I couldn't see what was in it. For a moment I wondered if he was the kind of person who uses a stroller to cart around personal belongings. He pointed at the stroller and said with a Spanish accent "Sleeping." I said "Ah." So there was a child in there.
He put the child on the backseat. It was a one-year-old boy. He folded up the stroller, and I put it in the trunk.
"Where are you going?"
"Divisadero.. but first, I have to pick up some medication."
"Right here... No, here... One more block." This went on for a couple of blocks.
He asked me to pull over at Market and Laguna. There is no pharmacy at that intersection. I was wondering what kind of "medication" he was picking up. He left the little boy in the cab with me. He was gone for about ten minutes. I am not a parent but this seemed kind of irresponsible. I tried to make the little boy laugh by playing peekaboo with him. I eventually succeeded. He bared his teeth at me. There was a huge gap between his two upper front teeth.
The dad came back. "Thank you for watching him," he said. "No problem," I said. I wondered if he had just taken his little son on a drug run.
"Where to now?"
"What time is it?"
"Oh, we have time. She doesn't get off work until 3:30. Let's go to the Marina. The playground there on Chestnut."
We talked about the little boy, his mom. The dad told me they live in the Outer Mission. I told him I live in the Inner Mission.
When we got to the playground on Chestnut, the dad pulled out a booklet of Paratransit tickets. I thought that was odd. People who use Paratransit tickets are usually old and/or disabled. But I didn't think too much about it. The fare was $17.05. I counted all the tickets in the booklet, and there was $18 worth. I also made sure that the white trip report sheet was on top and that it was signed. Without the trip report, the tickets aren't worth anything.
After counting, I put the booklet down on the center divider between the two front seats. Then I got up to get the stroller out of the trunk. The dad collected his son from the backseat. We thanked each other and wished each other a nice day.
After I took off, I picked up the Paratransit booklet to write down my cabbie number on the trip report. The white trip report was gone. One little corner of it was still there. The suspect dad must have ripped it off while I was getting the stroller and he was getting his son. Without the trip report, the Paratransit tickets can't be redeemed. He had literally ripped me off.
Now I knew what he had been hiding. This whole time he had probably been wondering if he would be able to rip me off.