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August 30, 2008

August 30, 2008 – A Funny Story From Robert Pervantes

            You remember Robert right?  You know, the creepy guy that wants you to drive around the block in circles while he stalks his sister’s boyfriend.   This time was no different but I kept the stalking (as directed by Robert) to a minimum.  Anyways, Robert told me a funny story.

            About a week ago one of our drivers “Nick” picked up Robert and drove him to Starbucks so that Robert could get some coffee.  Robert is disabled, possibly in a number of ways, but most noticeably by the fact that he walks with a crutch.  I’m not exactly sure what ails Robert.  Robert asked Nick if he could go inside and get some coffee.  Nick wasn’t interested and told Robert that he would need to do that himself.  Sure, it would have been a nice gesture to get Robert coffee, but in all fairness, it was a little forward for him to ask directly.  Robert is able to walk, albeit with the aid of a crutch.  Were taxi drivers, not errand runners.

            At any rate about 10 minutes later as Robert is walking out he trips and falls and gets stuck right in the swinging door in front of Starbucks.  Nick just sat there and watched as Robert flailed away like a fish on the beach.  An employee of Starbucks came and helped Robert to his feet and back into the taxi.  I could only imagine the awkwardness on the ride back.

             I had heard nothing about this until Robert brought it up.

            Robert:  I went to the Starbucks the other day and tripped and fell as I was walking out.  The      driver saw the whole thing.  He just sat in his taxi and stared.
            Me: Oh, yeah.
            Robert: Yeah, and then when he dropped me off he told me his name was “Gomez.”  I know Gomez, and that wasn’t Gomez.




            This is actually a game that a number of us drivers play.  Whenever we get a fare that we don’t much care for, we tell our passenger that our name is something else.  This is typically a driver that we really don’t care for.  Me, well, I say my name is “Kirk.”  He’s probably the biggest piece of shit out here, so I try to pass all of the crappy rides on to him.  Kirk’s not as stupid as he looks though.  He’s caught onto this, and now refuses to take personal requests from people he’s not familiar with.

            Gomez, well Gomez actually likes to pick up Robert, although I can’t imagine why… 

August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008 – More About Catherine’s Credit Card Swindle

            So there has been growing discontent amongst the drivers on the topic of credit cards.  Or perhaps more specifically the forcing of drivers to take credit cards.  Catherine put out the word that this is something that we must comply with as it is something that is regulated and necessitated by the City of Cortez.  A few days ago one of our drivers talked with one of the higher-ups within the city government and asked point blank whether or not the city required taxi drivers to accept credit cards.  An answer was received – an unequivocal NO.  Catherine had told a lie.

            Shortly afterwards the driver went to the office and asked Catherine whether or not we are required to take credit cards.  Catherine told him “sometimes we need to take the iniative and step up and do things before the city requires us to do so.”  Apparently Catherine had forgotten that only a week or so prior she had explicitly stated that taking credits was a citywide requirement.

            And recently I heard something that really angered me.  Supposedly Catherine has a mission down in Mexico that she contributes too.  The fact that she operates a mission, or that it is in Mexico,  is not the issue.  What is an issue is that she obviously has a surplus of money, enough so that she is able to donate to nonessential causes such as this but refuses to outfit her company with clean, safe, dependable vehicles.  That should be priority number one.  All too often myself and other drivers have had to lose a days pay because our cab has broken down.

            I’ve already caught Catherine in a number of mistruths.  For example requiring that we pick up EVERYONE.  Everyone?  How about someone that wants to start a fight, doesn’t have money, doesn’t know where they are going, someone who just shit their pants.  No, we most certainly do not.

August 22, 2008

August 22, 2008 – Mrs. Wilitz

           Mrs. Wilitz is one of our regular customers.  She has an account with the office.  Whenever Dolores Wilitz takes a cab we just put her pickup point, destination, and a total fare on a business card that is stamped with a payment template on the back.  Most companies would print out receipts for this sort of thing.  Not Cortez Cab.  It might cost them a few extra cents to order stamped business cards, and it would be a lot to ask them to spend money on anything.If you’ve read some of my previous posts you’ve heard about the condition of our cabs.  And if you haven’t, well, they’re pieces of shit.

            So we have to go into the office and manually stamp the back of them.  But we can't stamp to many at once.  We are only rationed out 40 cards at a time.  After that we are supposed to fill out a office log and sign it saying that we only took 40 business cards.  I'm not sure why the office makes us do this, it's beyond silly.  If drivers want to come in every day and grab 40 that would be fine though?  I don't see the advantage of having a stockpile of stamped business cards sitting in my cab, other than the fact that if I do grab a bunch of them at once it minimizes the number of trips that I have to make to the office.  Bizarre that office is...

            Anyways, one of our drivers, who we’ll call “Driver A,” picked her up the other day.  Driver A picked her up from “The Willows” a retirement community in Cortez.  One of the attendants wheeled her vegetative husband out in his wheelchair.  They were going to the Hotel Del Coronado, which is more of a local tourist attraction than anything else.  I spoke with a man who went there for a beer a few days prior.  A $13 beer….  A bottle of Budweiser.

            Driver A and the attendant folded up the wheel chair and helped Mrs. Wilitz and her husband into the taxi.  When they arrived there was a problem.
            Driver A: (Pops the trunk to remove the wheelchair)
            Mrs. Wilitz: What’s that!
            Driver A: It looks like a wheeellllccchhaaaiir…?
            Mrs. Wilitz: How did it get in there?
            Driver A:? 
            Driver A: I put it in there…                       
            Mrs. Wilitz: Well it’s not ours.  That must belong to The Willows.
            Driver A: Ok, I’ll return it.



            As Driver A picked up Mrs. Wilitz and her husband they stood there and watched as the two men (Driver A and the attendant from The Willows) struggled to fold up the rusty old wheelchair for a good minute and put it in the trunk.  It seems as if they had no idea that once it was folded up and placed in there that it would proceed to their final destination as well.

            Driver A works nights, often till 3 a.m.  The next morning one of the office workers, Bertha – the biggest one, called him to verify that the wheelchair had been returned.  At 9 a.m…

            I don’t like to get calls from the office about anything, much less to be woken up by them for such a trivial reason.  Driver A wasn’t happy and I can’t blame him.  Perhaps I’m wrong.  Perhaps Bertha and Mrs. Wilitz knew something that I didn’t.  Perhaps there is a thriving black market for dilapidated old wheelchairs.

August 10, 2008

August 10, 2008 – Credit Cards

           Recently the office has instituted a policy of accepting credit cards.  Forcing cab drivers to take credit cards against their will.  There’s a few reasons that none of the drivers like to deal with credit cards.

1.     It takes time.  Time is of the essence.  Lost time = lost wages.

2.     If they bounce then the driver is left holding the bag, not the company.  I know what you’re thinking – credit cards don’t bounce, checks bounce.  Well, that’s true, but if you have a credit card slip where you simply make an imprint of the card and a signature, well you don’t really have anything to back that when the office gets around to running them a week or so later.

3.     We have to stop in to the office, making an extra trip sometimes, to drop off our credit card slips.  We also have to see cab management, which many of the drivers don’t like all that much.  Then when the drivers redeem their credit card receipts (if you’re lucky enough to get ones from the Navy that don’t bounce) the office charges 10% to run them.  I asked the office why they charge us such a high rate when it probably only costs them 15-20% of that.  They gave me a number of explanations that simply were not true.

4.     The office will not pay the fees to set up a credit card terminal or service it.  That is expected to be done by the driver.

5.     Despite their antiquated system the office refuses to let the drivers call in the credit card over the phone so that it could be run almost instantaneously.  Although the office would have to use technology for that – the telephone.

None of this is a problem for me however because I just refuse to take them.  Every once in a while someone calls and complains, but the office is easily fooled with a good story.  Something shiny or creme filled helps too.

August 6, 2008

August 6, 2008 – Fat Cabbie

            One of my fellow coworkers told me a funny story today.    The previous night Jefferson had been sitting outside of the local Irish bar.   A drunk man came out of the bar and asked to pay with a credit card.  Jefferson said that he didn’t accept credit cards.  An argument ensued.

            Customer: Why not?
            Jefferson: I’m not set up for it.  I’m sorry.
            Customer: NO. I’m paying with credit card.
            Jefferson: We can stop by an ATM if you would like.
            Customer: You’re just a fat cabbie and that’s all you’re going to ever be.
            Jefferson: Perhaps, but you’re acting like a child who doesn’t get his way.

            The man then just stormed off inside the bar.  A few minutes later he came out and apologized and agreed to withdraw funds from the nearest ATM.

August 4, 2008

August 4, 2008 - More Pictures From The Zoo (Not the one I work at)

Just a few more pictures I shot at the San Diego Zoo the other day.  It's actually pretty hard to get good pictures at the zoo.  But I like to try.


August 3, 2008

August 3, 2008 – The Man Who Didn’t Like Cigarettes

            A few weeks ago myself and a fellow driver were having a chat.  I was sitting in my taxi, in the drivers seat, and one of the other drivers who well call “William” was sitting in the back.  Smoking a cigarette.  William does what most people do when they are finished with their cigarette – throw it on the ground.  Obviously this isn’t the best place to discard spent cigarette butts, but that’s where most of them just end up.  Point is it’s common.

            As William threw his butt out the window a concerned citizen spotted it and came over to intervene.  We’ll call this man “Lawrence.”

            Lawrence: You dropped something.
            William: Yeah
            Lawrence: Yeah, it’s not a garbage can you know (the sidewalk).
            William: I know.
            Lawrence: So are you going to pick it up?
            William: Yeah.
            Lawrence: Are you going to pick that up?
            William: Yeah, I will.

            So Lawrence walks about 100 feet down the block and waits.  Watching to see if William will leave the taxi to pick up his cigarette butt.  Me and William get a good laugh out of this whole thing.  I have never seen someone become so concerned about another person throwing a spent cigarette on the sidewalk.  I probably see it ten times a day.  Surely Lawrence sees the same.  Surely it just makes his blood boil.  After about 3 minutes Lawrence realizes that William has no intentions of picking up the cigarette butt and returns to the scene.

            Lawrence: Here you go (as he picks up that cigarette butt, which still is smoldering on the pavement, and throws it right in the taxi at William).
            William: (Sitting there in awe).  What the fuck?
            Me: What an asshole.
            William: I don’t know what to say.  I’m shocked.
            Me: Unreal.  That guy could have lit the taxi on fire.  Probably not, but it could have happened.  Does this guy always get this worked up about people throwing cigarettes on the ground?  It must be pretty hard for this guy to get through his day.




            A few weeks later I pick up a couple a few blocks from where this happened.  As I tried to leave the alley some A-hole in the alley zooms up in her BMW and blocks me from getting out and honks his horn.  He wants to go first.  So I say whatever and let him pass. We’ll call my passengers “Marty” and “Stephanie.”

            Me: What an asshole.
            Stephanie: Tell me about it.  I can’t stand that guy.
            Me: Why’s that?
            Stephanie: (Laughing) Tell him Marty.           
            Marty: He doesn’t want to hear about that?
            Me: No I do, what’s the deal with that guy?
            Stephanie: He’s our neighbor.  One day I threw a cigarette out in the alley behind my house and a few later he came to our front door to return it.  It was still lit.
            Me: (Laughing) I know that asshole!  (I then proceeded to tell Marty and Stephanie about my experience that I had a few weeks earlier at the Irish pub up the street.

            We all got a good laugh out of this.  Small world.  One of these days this guy is going return a cigarette to someone who really doesn’t want it back.  One of these days Lawrence is going to get socked in the face.