Originally appeared in the S.F. Examiner on Jan. 23, 2020.
After pulling up to terminal three and stowing the young girl’s suitcase in the trunk of my cab, I get behind the wheel and look over my shoulder to find out her destination, but, to my surprise, she opens the front passenger door instead.
“Hop in back,” I tell her. “You’ll be more comfortable.”
“I’ll just hold onto it,” she says, assuming I was referring to her backpack.
“OK then.” I quickly adjust the seat, since it’s pushed all the way forward.
“So, uh, where to?” I ask, hitting the meter.
She gives me an address on Turk Street. I ask her to repeat it since there are no hotels or apartment buildings on that block.
“In the Tenderloin?”
“I guess,” she says. “I’ve never been there before.”
On the freeway, I make subtle inquiries. She’s from Wilmington, North Carolina, taking a gap year in The City.
“That means you’re what, 18 or 19?”
“I’m actually 20 years old,” she replies, somewhat defensively.
She looks much younger.
Her explanation of the building where she’s going to be living for the next year is a bit convoluted, but it sounds like a hybrid hotel/apartment building with dorm rooms. So, basically a hostel.
Read the rest here.
[Image from the San Francisco Postcard Collection – Street Scenes from Behind the Wheel.]