March 23rd, 2010
3/07/10 Sun. 69.4 miles
3/08/10 Mon. 83.5 miles
3/09/10 Tues. 84.9 miles
A huge conference just started in town. A veteran cab driver told me “you’re a lazy bastard if you can’t make 200 dollars a day during this.” Well, I’m a lazy bastard. Money has been great but I’m can’t drive for more than 5 hours before I loose it. Traffic is such a nightmare when we have this many people in town and I don’t deal with it very well.
I was determined to make as much money as possible tonight. I hustled the CBD most of the day. I took a total of 8 fares from the CBD and Quarter. That’s incredibly rare for me. The dispatchers were begging us to get out of the CBD and pick up the locals who needed rides. It was just way too busy in the CBD and Quarter to pass it all by to pick up someone up town. After a couple of hours I felt bad so I started passing up the CBD and picking up Uptown. Inevitably I got a fare that took me downtown.
I was having one of my busiest days ever. In 3 hours I made what I would normally make for an entire days work. I had an Airport booked for 11:30 PM so I took a long break in the evening to hang out with some friends and shoot a quick portrait of a friend. I picked up my friend John at the Airport. I hadn’t seen him in a long time so I convinced him to get some food with me.
“You wanna get some Denny’s,” I asked.
“Fuck Yeah!” He replied.
Living in New Orleans you don’t come across chain restaurants like Denny’s, Applebee’s, Chili’s etc. so John and I saw this as a grand opportunity. We have a tradition of dining in shitty chain restaurants.
Afterwards I dropped John off at his home in the Bywater. My backseat was filled with photo equipment so I didn’t plan on picking an customers up on the way home. I turned up Esplanade from N. Peters to find a girl staggering in the Neutral Ground. She stepped in to the street with out looking. I hit my brakes and she looked up at me. She had blood all over her forehead. It had dripped down one side of her face. She was crying.
“You have to help me! Please get me out of here!” She begged.
“Baby, get in the car.” I told her. “Shit, I got all my photo equipment in the back seat.”
“I don’t care. I’ll sit up front,” she said crying.
When she opened the front door the top part hit her in the head. She almost fell over. She started crying again.
“Listen, are you OK?” I asked.
“Just drive please!”
“Do you need to go to the hospital?” I asked.
“No just please take me home.” She replied.
She told me her address then mumbled something about the train yards and cried some more. She started fumbling in her purse and tried to get into her jacket pockets.
“Listen, I’m not some hobo. I got a job. I’m a bartender. I’m not just some crazy drunk hobo.” She said.
“Baby, don’t worry it’s OK. Your OK. Your safe. I’m gonna get you home alright.” I assured her.
“I don’t know what happened. I got off work and went down to the train yards drinking with some friends. Oh my god. Then I don’t know. I’ve had a terrible day. I just need someone to be nice to me.” She cried.
“Baby, it’s OK. It’ll be alright now,” I tried to assure her.
“If it weren’t for you I don’t know what would happen. You’re a fucking saint,” she said.
“No baby, I’m just a cab driver. Don’t say that.”
I pulled up to the address she told me, which was only about 7 blocks away. She was still fighting with the pockets in her jacket. I looked down and noticed she had it on inside out.
“This is your place, baby.” I told.
She looked up.
“Wait. This is where I used to live. I don’t live here anymore, fuck. That‘s OK. This will be fine. I want to pay you. Cause you deserve it. You’re the only one whose been nice to me. How much do I owe you? If I could only find the fucking pockets in this fucking jacket.”
She started crying again.
“Baby, I think it’s because you got your jacket on inside out.” I told her.
She stop crying enough to laugh a little.
“Listen, when a girl is in tears and has blood all over her face I don’t expect her to pay for the fare. Seriously, don’t worry about it.”
“I have blood on my face?”
“Is this where you live?” I asked.
“Well, I used to. But I just moved and I can’t remember. It’s around here, near Claiborne.”
“Do you know where the Tree House is?” I asked knowing that place has thrown some crazy parties lately.
“Yes. I live across the street from it.” She replied.
I drove her a few more blocks up Esplanade and dropped her off in front of her apartment.
“I don’t have any money. If I did I would give you all of it. Your fucking amazing. Nobody else stopped. You’re a saint. Give me your card. I know people and I’m going to make this up to you some how.” She said.
She insisted I hug her so I did.
“Baby, seriously. Don’t worry about me. You take care of yourself.” I told her.
“Really, please give me your number. I know a lot of people around town. Maybe I could help you some way.”
I wrote my number on a business card and handed it to her.
I don’t know what happened to her. I’m just happy to have gotten her home before something worse happened to her. I’m sure when she woke up the next day she had no idea what the fuck happened to her. She probably doesn’t have a clue how she got home. My guess is she got drunk and got herself mugged.
Who the fuck knows.
I was telling another cab driver about it the other day. He’s an old timer who quit driving a few years ago.
“Fuck man. You stopped?” He asked. “Just wait, man. In a couple of years you’ll know better. Next time you see that just keep driving. It’ll be nothing but trouble. I did that once when I was young. Thinking I was helping a girl out. When I got her home her old man pulled a gun on me. Oh, fuck that. Just pass that by next time.”
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