Monday, April 2, 2007

Police call

The last ride of the night was fairly entertaining. The police needed a cab on a lonely country highway. It was in the city, but on the edge of a canyon, so it felt like country. A police car was stopped behind an SUV, and I pulled in front of them. A 20-something man and woman came to the cab and got in.

"I'd ask how your day is going, but I think I already know," I said. They just laughed, saying it was no big deal. They had been parked for an hour, they said, when the cop arrived. They had been drinking, and the cop wanted to breathalyze them on suspicion of DUI. The guy had said it doesn't matter because they weren't driving. His keys were in his pocket, not the ignition or in his hand. Surprisingly, the cops didn't arrest them.

When I asked them what they were doing parked for an hour, they just smiled.

They went to a Burger King in Imperial Beach, in the South Bay area. They paid the $20 fare plus a $5 tip. As I was pulling away, the guy came running out and asked if I could wait while they got a burger, then bring them back. I agreed.

I surfed the web in the parking lot until they returned. I had cleared the meter, so technically I was wildcatting, but it was the same fare -- a continuation. I may be the only cabbie in San Diego who fears the big fine for wildcatting.

I brought them back to their truck and we all craned our necks to see if the police car was still around as we drove by. Then I doubled back and let them out, wishing them luck.

They didn't seem drunk to me, and besides, it's not my responsibility. I did feel a bit guilty about it, though. If the cops had returned, they would have been angry.

The round trip plus tip was $55. There's nothing like cash to make guilty feelings subside.

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