This is the story of my stint as a Cab driver in San Diego during my mid 20's. The stories are real, although the names have been changed. The dates are to the best of my recollection. Any and all likenesses to certain individuals are purely coincidental.
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August 4, 2007
August 4, 2007 - The Cadillac
As I walked to my taxi two men who were in quite a rush approached and asked if I was a driver and whether or not I was in service.
Kyle: How much to San Onofre State Beach? Me: Boy, I don’t know but it’s gotta be a lot.
Me: Probably around $150.
Kyle: How about $100? Me: Alright.
Normally I wouldn’t have bothered with this low ball offer, but it has been slow lately and truthfully if I made $100 day working in Cortez I’d be surprised. So I drove Kyle and his passenger up to San Onofre. I don’t know how much it would have been, I forgot to start the meter.
So apparently what happened was Kyle and his helper Alex were driving down from San Francisco in a moving truck that was towing an old Cadillac. They made it down the majority of the way and then stopped over to get some gas in Irvine. While they were getting some gas they noticed that the hitch that was holding on the Cadillac had a large crack in it. If they kept driving there was a chance it could break and the Cadillac could be unleashed into a sea of moving traffic, careening aimlessly, like a drunken hobo. There was a problem however…
Kyle had been driving the whole way and had not anticipated that Alex may have to take the wheel at some point. Problem was that Alex didn’t have a license. Kyle decided that the best option was to unhook the Cadillac and have Alex drive it a few miles down the road to where they could park it for a while until they figured a way of getting it to Cortez. It was just too risky to have an unlicensed person drive the car another 55 miles to Cortez. Kyle’s plan was to find a taxi when he got to Cortez that would take him back up to San Onofre to drive the Cadillac back. The moving truck would stay in Cortez for the mean time.
As we drove up to San Onofre we all talked and got to know each other a little better. Alex and Kyle had a small operation out of the bay area where they worked as movers. They said that they would do long trips often but worked exclusively in California. Kyle had started the business a few years ago.
Right before you get to San Onofre State Beach there is a large checkpoint operated by the border patrol. When they asked us where we were coming from they got different answers from Kyle and Alex. Actually, both of their answers were correct. Kyle said that they were coming from Cortez, and Alex said that they were coming from San Francisco. Mr. Border Patrol became suspicious. They ordered us out gave us a round of questioning and proceeded with their dog and pony show. Nothing too fancy, just a few agents looking around with flashlights, mirrors, and shit eating grins. Shortly thereafter we were back on our way. We pulled up to the Cadillac but there was a problem. One crucial element was overlooked. They didn’t have the ignition key.
Turns out that the lady who hired them to do the move only gave them the door key, not the ignition key as well. There was no way of getting the car started. They were baffled and obviously distraught. They weren’t happy, they had spent a hundred dollars, without a tip by the way which would have been much appreciated since I knocked $50 off of their ride.
Kyle: Well, I guess you can just bring us back to Cortez. Me: What are you going to do about the car?
Kyle: I don’t know. All I know is that Betty is getting off the plane in 30 minutes and we said that we would pick her up.
Me: Well, you could get the key from her for the ignition at least then.
Kyle: I guess so.
Me: Sorry guys. The ride back is on me but the trip to the airport is an unscheduled stop so you have to pay for that. It’ll be about $25.
Kyle: That’s fine.
So we pick up Betty and bring her back to Cortez and drop her at her house. Kyle told her that they would do the unpacking in the morning as it was dark now. She was fine with that. Kyle did however get the key for the car.
Kyle: Thanks for the ride, it was good talking to you.
Me: What are you going to do about the car, you probably can’t leave it there overnight, and they might tow it.
Kyle: Yeah, but there’s nothing that I can do.
Me: I could drive it back for you. Now that you have the key, if you want to give me a ride up there in your moving truck I’ll drive it back for you.
Kyle: I can’t afford to pay you another $100 to do that for me.
Me: I agree, but I think $50 would be fair.
So we did just that. Around 9:30 we got back into Cortez with the Cadillac. They were relieved, and I was happy because I had a better day than I was expecting, and it was kind of exciting. Kyle got a good deal as well, any other driver may have refused to budge and they would have had to spend probably $300 on cab fares alone. We shook hands and went on our separate ways, and I went home.