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Blog: Tales From The Taxi

(originally written 6/21/22)

I drove a taxi and dispatched for City Cab in colorful Vallejo, California from March 2001 to September 2002. These are my stories.

I know the first thing you're curious about: did I ever get robbed? Luckily, no, nothing even close to that happened to me. I did have two people exit my cab without paying and never return, however. But considering I transported about 100 fares every week for dozens of weeks in a less-than-glorious city, that's an insanely low number.

I know the second thing you're curious about: did I ever bang any of the customers? No, but I did get halfway to third base with one. We'll call her "Tamara"; she lived in what's known as The Crest, was a single mother of three children (well, two children and a ticking time bomb) and wasn't bad looking at all.

I honestly don't remember what led to us getting physical. I remember taking her home from the store one day, her laughing a bit too easily at my corny humor, and...showing up at her house a few days later (off-duty) and nearly reaching third base before she put on the brakes. I DON'T remember giving her my number. I DON'T remember her ever inviting me over. I DON'T remember any conversations we had except for the final one.
After a few encounters, none of which led to scoring, I realized Tamara was likely playing me for rides and money—both of which she seemed to need whenever I visited. So one day I ghosted her. I had been on a break from my future child's mother, and we wound up getting back together. I don't even remember what Tamara looked like anymore.

On that same note—sort of—one day I picked up a woman from Sutter-Solano Hospital who we'll call "Gail". Gail was about 45-50 and simply not very attractive by my standards. Gail was also under the influence of some drug. How do I know this? 

Because the entire way home—a solid 15-minute trip—she sat in front and molested me. Grabbing my parts, putting her face in my lap WHILE I WAS DRIVING, spouting nonsense. TRUST ME, even at age 22 I was not that irresistible. She even tried to invite me inside her Glen Cove home. Uh, no thanks, not even if you WERE attractive, Gail. You know, morals and that whole jail thing.

A couple weeks later, I picked up a detoxed Gail again from the hospital. This time she sat in back, was normal and pleasant, and didn't molest me. In fact, she didn't even seem to remember me at all, much to my relief.

You probably weren't curious about this, but three of my colleagues caught my eye during my tenure at City Cab. One was our office manager, "Marla", who was in her 20's and about as physically appealing as anyone I'd ever met. Problem was, she was so uppity and humorless that any attraction I might have had toward her withered away and died after our first meeting.
Another was a fellow driver, "Shawna". Shawna was cute and chubby, just like I like 'em. I was intrigued. Then one day at a staff meeting, Shawna threatened to knock her very young son out for, well, no good reason. (IS there a good reason to knock a little boy out?) Intrigue INSTANTLY and PERMANENTLY destroyed. She didn't last there much longer.

The last one would be Josie's mom, also a driver. The first nine months we worked together, I barely interacted with her at all. Then little by little, we began to interact until finally we interacted with our clothes off in a motel room. Fun times. No regrets except WHY DIDN'T I DO THAT SOONER???

I should also talk about the 17-year-old granddaughter of one of our drivers; let's call her "Colby" since I can't remember her real name. She hung out around the office a few times, apparently having nothing better to do. And since I was one of the only young employees there, she kind of gravitated toward me, even asking to ride with me during a shift once (I had to say no, or else the boss would have been seriously upset). 

Colby was very attractive, but also the type who could be trouble if you weren't careful. I was friendly to her, but kept boundaries given her age and my status as someone's boyfriend. One day, right there in our office during some downtime, Colby proposed a threesome. She was serious, as far as I could tell. I politely declined and explained why. She took it well. 

Weeks later, while I was dispatching, Colby showed up, chatted briefly, gave me a big hug and disappeared into the night with a guy who resembled Flavor Flav from a distance. I never saw or heard anything about her again. I hope things turned out well for her—she was okay, just a kid in serious need of some structure and guidance.

The customers, for the most part, were just regular folks needing to get from Point A to Point B. I'd say 98% of them gave me no issues whatsoever. In a city like Vallejo, that's remarkable. But there were, of course, a few who I remember for the wrong reasons.

One woman didn't like the route I took, let me know about it, and threw her fare at me when the ride was over. Another woman mistakenly thought I was rushing her as she did a bank transaction and insulted me, when it was in fact her daughter who wondered what the holdup was. I'm still waiting for that apology. 
I had a regular customer, "Bill", who was about 90. I often helped him with his shopping but one day I could not due to time constraints—he did not take it well. A blind regular had a guide dog who shed like crazy; once I politely asked if she had something to cover the seat with. She snapped a refusal as if asked to cover the seat with her panties. 

"Mrs. Lawson" was about 50 and lived in South Vallejo; three times a week we took her to/from neighboring Benicia for dialysis treatments. As far as I knew she was never mean to any of us drivers, but whenever her brother came from the house to wheel her inside, he would get literally BEATEN. Almost every time, usually for nothing. And he just took it, never said a word, never tried to defend himself. What a joyous household that must have been.

But the ultimate customer from hell had to be the guy who called himself "Flying Eagle". He hopped in the cab one day, right in front, and immediately started yapping. He was an ex-cop. He could speak every language. He wanted to go to (insert random cities/states). Fine, whatever.
However, as the ride went on—there were stops—he became more and more agitated at, well, nothing. City Cab was trying to steal his money, etc. Just ridiculous, paranoid nonsense. Eventually, I got fed up when he kicked the passenger door open at about the fourth stop. yelling about how mad he was. 

With the dispatcher's blessing, once Mr. Eagle was out of the cab and inside, I took his fare from his wallet (which he'd left behind) dumped all of his crap in the parking lot, and split. Never saw or heard from/about his crazy ass again, nor did any of our other drivers (I checked). Homie was obviously mentally ill, but 22-year-old me wasn't equipped to deal with that.

In closing...

My manager was named "Jason". He was in his early 40's, fun and likable, and kind of resembled Al Leiter of MLB. Unfortunately, Jason enjoyed the bottle a bit too much.

One night, I was sent to his house on the down low. Turns out Jason had gotten liquored up and literally shot himself in the lower leg/foot. His longtime girlfriend was freaking out. My job: get Jason to the hospital.
The hospital was not close, Jason was struggling to remain conscious, and the girlfriend was (somewhat understandably) urging me to drive as if I was an ambulance. I had to remind her the reason I was called, instead of an ambulance, was for discretion. If I started driving crazy, I'd get attention from the wrong people. THEN what? She calmed down.

Jason survived his bullet wound, but his job did not. He was missed at that office and not just by me.

Well, I won't bore you with tales of all the nice, good, interesting passengers I had during that year-and-a-half of driving/dispatching for Vallejo City Cab. I've told you all the "juicy" stuff I can remember, and I'm going to quit while (I think) I'm ahead.

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