This week’s column for the S.F. Examiner is about getting accosted by a bunch of kids on Market Street. The situation got pretty tense, but I was able to deescalate things and escape harm.
Interestingly, almost two years ago to the day, I wrote a post for Broke-Ass Stuart.com about taxi drivers getting accosted. I found this passage relevant and still applicable today:
As a new cab driver, I adhere to the principle that taxi driving is an inclusive public service, even though maintaining an open door policy exposes me to certain occupational hazards. I know the chances of getting robbed or attacked are slim, but the fear still lurks deep in the recesses of my lizard brain.
It’s been over two years since I started driving a taxi and I still maintain an open door policy. Which means I sometimes get in sticky situations, but the alternative – profiling each passenger before I pick them up – is even less appealing.
With “Hamilton” and “Into the Woods” breaking around the same time, Market Street at 10:50 p.m. is flooded with theatergoers. For taxis, it’s a feeding frenzy. After dropping off a family at the Marine’s Memorial Club, I shoot down Mason for another quick load.
As I turn right onto Market, a girl is standing on the curb with her arm up. Two cabs drive right past her. I pull over.
She opens the back door, turns and yells, “Hey! I got a taxi!”
Upon her exclamation, a group of kids emerge from the shadows and bum-rush my cab.
“Hold up, now!” I shout as they surround me.
The battalion of brats ranges in age, from the full-grown teenagers squeezing themselves into the backseat, to some goofy-looking adolescents pounding on my trunk and climbing onto the roof, to a precocious 9-year-old in the front seat trying to grab everything in sight: my iPhone, the Flywheel phone clipped to the vent, my Square reader and even the dispatch tablet mounted on the dash.
Read the rest of the column here.