Arts and CultureSan Francisco

Best Taxi Driver Ever?

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Can I get in your cab?

Ever wondered why that one cab driver pulled over to pick you up? Why did he choose you? Or why were you available at that very moment?

Anyways, tonight I seemed to meet the craziest cab driver ever. Maybe that is an over statement because maybe every taxi driver is a little bit insane…but this guy tonight seemed to take the cake. I haven’t had such an entertaining ride for a long while.

I happened to be headed downtown to pick up a friend at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. My cousin jumped out of the cab to go grab our friend upstairs. The old taxi driver was not really into us other two passengers – we tried to get him to wait, but he was pretty antsy. So we decided to jump out and wait for our friends. Ten minutes later we were looking for a new cab…little did I know that we were in for the ride of our lives.

I walked up to the corner of Geary and Sutter and saw a cab had just dropped off some people up the street. I flagged the cab down and luckily he pulled over to pick me up. We pulled down to the middle of the block and my cousin and his two friends jumped in.

We were headed to the Mission. The taxi driver was quite at first. Until I started talking about this place in the Inner Richmond that sold illegal shark fins and dried abalones. These abalones cost $499 per pound. I told everybody that people were only allowed to catch one abalone at a time.

Homeboy busted into the coversation, “Nah, man…you can get three! Fo’ realz!”

I begged to differ but he told me that he was skilled in the art of abalone catching in his homeland of China. And then he just took it from there. The cab driver had been driving cabs for over ten years. He lost his abalone diving license in California because he snatched way too many. Then he went on to say how the cops caught him at his house with a gun and that the shit pretty much hit the fan.

We asked him why he had a gun and he basically said that he needed it. He’d been in San Quentin for shooting a man. He said San Quentin was like a walk in the park.

“Everybody can see your file,” he started, “and then they don’t even mess with you. You just pump iron everyday – I was pumping 150 pounds by the time I got out.”

The cabbie kept going on about how much he like to smoke weed and how crazy this city was. One of the passengers asked him if he had any weed. Right at that moment, the cab swerved over to the curb on the right and flashed on his hazard lights. We were right in front of a medical marijuana shop.

“What kind of weed do you want, bro?” he asked. “You want some O.G. Kush, or what,” in his Chinese-American dialect.

The passenger was like, “Yeah…um, something not too strong…”

But the taxi driver was already in the shop by the time he had finished his sentence. I was laughing so hard at this point, I jumped out of the cab to go buy some cigarettes at the corner store. By the time I got back, the weed was already to go – transaction complete.

We continued on our way, and the driver kept us rolling in laugher. We had passed our destination but it didn’t even matter. We wanted to hear more. By the time we circled our spot again, we were ready to get out. The guy didn’t even want us to pay the cab fare. He told us we were good to go.

He gave us his card, but said he changed his number every two weeks. Homeboy was hilarious. I am definitely gonna call him tomorrow night!

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Heidi Smith - The Ultimate Scavenger

Heidi Smith - The Ultimate Scavenger

Heidi works for a non-profit cultural exchange organization helping others experience life from a different perspective. She likes magnetizing the obscure and scavenging the city for fun, free things to do. She is a world traveler, a freelance writer and a spontaneous chef. She is also said to be part-mermaid.