A Five Dollar Scam

It amounted to a little more than five dollars, the scam he ran on Richard and me.  The cabbie sized up the 70-ish couple from California’s Central Valley as easy marks–country bumpkins touring the big city of San Francisco and he acted accordingly.  Our map of the area indicated that we would need to walk four blocks down and one block over  to reach our chosen restaurant for our 8:30 reservations.  The thought of walking that distance in the dark unnerved me. (One fall and the resulting pain has set a new level of caution in my heart.)  The estimated fare of $5.00 was worth it.

We climbed into the cab and were off toward our destination with one very chatty driver entertaining us as we rode the prescribed route.  I quickly spotted the sign for our restaurant on the left hand side of the road and pointed it out to the driver who accelerated instead of stopping.  With a condescending voice, as if speaking to an ignorant female, he said,”Oh, no!  Your restaurant is closer to Fisherman’s Wharf.”

“But I saw…”  Three more blocks south he admitted he must have missed it and headed back up the hill away from the wharf.  I watched the cab’s meter climb with every inch we traveled.  “Sir, I know I saw the restaurant’s sign beside the roadway.”

“Are you sure you know where you’re going?”  Richard added.

Sensing the irritation in my husband’s voice, the cabbie replied, “Definitely!  I just missed my turn.”  (How do you miss a ‘turn’ on a straight street?)

Five dollars later on the meter, he pulled into the parking area of the desired destination and announced, “That will be $10.00 please.”  Sensing my hubby’s next action,. I hopped out of the cab and hurried toward the restaurant entrance.  (I hate conflict of any kind.)   For you see, I knew what the driver didn’t know.  My husband was born and raised in NYC and had no trouble calling out a shady cabbie.  I knew you can take the boy out of the city, but never the city out of the boy.  Richard not only refused to pay the excess fare, but he diminished his tip to a pittance and reported him to his cab company, all delivered in a quiet reasonable voice.  Worse yet, the time it took to clear up the problem with Richard must have cut into the driver’s profit for the night.  I hope he learned something out of it, like, maybe those ‘old folks’ from the valley weren’t quite as gullible as he’d imagined. To say the cabbie left in haste would be mild.

I almost felt sorry for the guy–almost.  It reminded me of a verse in Proverbs,  “Good understanding wins favor but the way of the unfaithful is hard.” Proverbs 13:15 NIV


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