My column this week for the S.F. Examiner is a somewhat confusing story about an altercation between a cab driver and a pupuseria worker, involving a possible fake $100 bill…
I don’t hear the details over the two-way radio as it unfolds, but when I come upon the aftermath at 16th and Valencia, I see two SFPD squad cars have National 2977 surrounded. On the sidewalk, cops mingle with the crowd of Saturday night revelers, the mariachis and a few competing hot dog vendors.
I look for the familiar face of the driver, but an arm in the air distracts me.
Later, in the Mighty cabstand, Juneaux tells me all he knows: The driver of 2977 was attacked by his passengers and taken to the emergency room.
While I’m cashing out at the end of my shift, Jesse only has a little more information. The driver, Noguchi, was taken to SF General, and they’re towing the cab back to the yard.
Outside the office, the weekly recitation of the waybill is underway, with Noguchi’s fate the center of attention. Colin, Juneaux, Late Night Larry, Marty and I stand around asking questions: Why doesn’t somebody just go pick up the cab? Cause the driver has the key. Oh. Has anyone gone to the hospital to check on the driver? Did the police file a report? Are we going to pull the chip from the camera?
After a while, the tow truck arrives with 2977 on the hook. Then Noguchi shows up, bedraggled with a hospital bracelet still around his wrist.
We immediately demand answers.
Top photo by Christian Lewis.
Joe Strummer in a NY taxicab via the interwebs.