Sunday, March 21, 2010

From Hero to Zero in nothing flat.

Ring ring - ring ring.

The caller id displays an unknown number.

Me: Hello

Voice: I was calling for a taxi. You picked us up earlier tonight. Do you remember the three girls?

Me: Leslie?

Voice: No, it's Tammy but I was with Leslie and Amy. Remember us from earlier tonight?

How could I forget? These girls were fun! We laughed all the way to a local downtown hot spot.

Me: Of course I do!

Tammy: I was wondering if you could pick me up and take me home. I'm at Leslie's, the same place you picked us up earlier.

Me: Sure I'd be happy to but I'm about 15 to 20 minutes away. Will that be okay?

Tammy: No problem, I'll be here. Just call when you get here.

Me: Okay, see you soon.


That's nice. Leslie must have shared my number with the other gals. That's good 'cause I felt kind of bad the way I had left them at The Edison.

Earlier in the evening, as I pulled to the curb to drop them off, a group leaving The Edison hailed me. The group waited as I was paid and I shared my cell number with Leslie.

One of the other gals saw the group waiting and said, "Do you want to ride with our driver Paul? You're lucky he's great!"

I smiled.

As the girls climbed out, the new group moved in. I heard one from the new group tell the girls that The Edison was "at capacity." The wait was going to be at least an hour, maybe even two.

New group: Take us to the Standard Hotel Paul.

Oh no. The girls are stranded.

Having no choice I pulled away. At the first corner, I made a quick u-turn and headed to the Standard. We passed where I had just dropped girls.

Glancing over my shoulder I saw them huddled together with one of the girls on her cell. My guess was they were trying to make new plans for the night.

The Standard and the Edison aren't too far apart so I decided to swing back after I dropped off the new group and make sure everything is okay with the girls.

They were gone by the time I returned moments later. Good. I hope they enjoy their night out.

Judging from the laughs I heard in the background when Tammy called, I'd say they had a great time!

I'm almost there,  nine miles in just 10 minutes. There's not much traffic at 3:50AM.

I'm about a mile away and I see a young lady on the side of the road waving her arms trying to get my attention. It's not Tammy so I mouth "I'm sorry" as I pass her by. I flag her location on my GPS so I can pick her up if Tammy happens to live close.

It took only 12 minutes to reach Leslie's home. I rang Tammy to let her know I had arrived. No answer.

I'll try Leslie. No answer. It goes to voice mail so I leave a short message.

Me: Hi Leslie, this is Paul. Tammy called and asked for me to come and take her home. Please let her know I'm here. Thanks.


I hear muffled talking and laughing on the other side of Leslie's fence. They must be saying their goodbyes.

Five minutes go by and still no Tammy. I'll try her cell again.

Tammy: Hello.

Me: Hi Tammy, it's Paul and I'm here.

Tammy: Great. They're inside and should be out shortly.


Me: Oh.. oh.. okay?

Wait. I thought I was picking her up. Anyway, I sit and wait... and wait. Five minutes pass, then ten, still no Tammy.

I'll try Leslie again. No answer. I hang up without leaving another message.

Just then I hear voices again on the other side of fence. Ah, now they must be coming out.

A couple more minutes pass before the gate opens. She walks out... but not towards the cab.

Me: Tammy?

Amy: No it's Amy.

Me: Oh. Hi Amy. I'm sorry I couldn't tell who it was. I'm here to pick up Tammy, is she on her way out?

Amy: Hi Paul. Tammy?? No, Tammy left a long time ago. I'm on my way home too.

Me: What? Tammy left? She called me to pick her up.

Amy: I'm sorry Paul she left about 25 minutes ago. She's not here.

I'm confused. I was here 20 minutes ago and I talked to her about 15 minutes ago. She said she was coming out.

Me: But I talked to her and...

Amy: I'm so sorry Paul but she already left in another cab.

I started to feel bad for Amy. I was putting her in the middle and that wasn't fair.

Me: That's okay Amy. I'll watch you to your car. Have a good morning.

Amy: I'm sorry Paul.

Me: It's okay.

My words sounded hollow even to me. I don't get it. It has to be a mater of respect, right? Why waste my time?

As I watched Amy walk to her car I sent a text to both Leslie and Tammy.

Me: (via text message) I didn't want to call a third time. Amy said you left in another cab.

Amy's car started so I drove away.

I looked at the clock and although it was a long shot, I headed toward the gal that tried to hail me earlier.

There she was. Jumping up and down, waving her arms from side to side. As I drove closer, it looked like she was ready to throw herself in front of the car to get me to stop.

Girl: Thank God you stopped! I've been out here for almost 45 minutes. Cabs wouldn't stop. It's DARK out here and I was starting to think I'd never make it home.

Me: Yeah, I'm sorry I passed you by too. I had another customer to pick up. But I came back!

Girl: Yes you did. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You're my hero....

I smiled.

From hero to zero -- now back to hero...


  1. Quick update

    Leslie sent a text apologizing for the mishap. It was nice to hear from her. I do understand that things can happen.

    I hope to drive the girls again! They are a lot of fun...

  2. I heard about how flaky Californians can get.