Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I don't really like to tell what I call "second hand" stories. Oftentimes I will hear something funny or interesting from a passenger about their lives and I generally enjoy such tales. However, I've never thought that retelling someone else' story here really works well for the purposes of this blog. After all, this is the Las Vegas Cabbie Chronicles, not the Las Vegas Cabbie Passenger Chronicles. Nonetheless, there are exceptions to every rule....

It was mid afternoon and I was on the nut at the Golden Nugget, downtown. The whistle blew calling me up and as I was approaching the front door, I caught a glance of my passengers to be. It was a very old couple. A white man, whose name I found out later was Tom, and a asian lady, Yuki. Two carry on size pieces of luggage sat beside them. I popped the trunk lid as I came to a stop and got out to assist the bellman with the bags. I closed the trunk and opened the passenger side door for Yuki. The bellman opened the other door for Tom and said enthusiastically as he got in:

Have a safe trip, we'll see you next time!

Tom replied:
Doubt we'll be back, but thank you.

I walked around to my door and thought that was strange. Who doesn't have a fun time in Las Vegas? I dismissed the notion thinking that Luck must not have been a Lady for these two. After I climbed in I had no choice but to notice Tom's Navy blue hat, starring at me through the rear-view mirror.


I thought I would break the ice...

Sorry you guys didn't enjoy Las Vegas.

Tom replied:

Oh no, it's not that. We had a wonderful time. We just got married here, seen some excellent shows, had a amazing suite and we even won some money!

Oh, well that's great then. My apologies, I overheard what you said to the bellman and gathered you didn't have a good time.

He laughed.
No. I said that because we don't know how much longer we're going to be on this earth, so a second trip to Vegas probably isn't in our deck of cards. This was our first time to Las Vegas and will most likely be our last.

I had nothing to say in response to that so I decided to try and change the subject to something that was undoubtedly more interesting.

So you guys just got married?

Yuki happily chimed in with a big beautiful smile on her face:
That's right, yesterday!

Wow that's great. Congratulations. So how long have you two known each other?

They looked at each other and smiled, then Tom replied:

65 years or so.

65 years!!?... And you just got married yesterday? That's one hell of an engagement! That must be an amazing story.

It is.
Yuki said.

You wouldn't mind telling it to me would you? My curiosity is piqued right now.
I inquired.

It almost seemed from the way Tom said "well", that he would be telling it for the first time:

Well, I joined the Navy shortly after I graduated from High School. I wasn't done with boot camp for long before I was assigned to the USS Tennessee in Pearl Harbor. Consequently forcing me to leave my friends, my family, my home and my long term girlfriend Patricia behind. I arrived at Pearl November 1, 1941, five weeks prior to the attacks there.

During my assignment in Hawaii is when I met Yuki. I first seen her at a marketplace outside the Naval Station, and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes upon. It was something that I felt immediately when I first seen her. I didn't find out until decades later that Yuki in fact had the same feeling at that very moment. Isn't that right sweetheart?

That's right!
Yuki said.

Tom continued:

Knowing that I had to meet this girl, I walked up and introduced myself and we immediately connected. We started spending time together but things were complicated. I wanted to remain loyal to my first love Patricia and as it turned out, Yuki was already engaged to a man by the name of Kioshi. We both respected each others current relationships, so we had no choice but to be strictly friends and friends only. If we wanted to spend time together that was the way it had to be. Despite the unbearable tension, I spent every free moment I had with Yuki, and hers with me. We knew that I could not have her, and she could not have me. But, we also knew that not seeing each other at all would have been worse. It seemed like an impossibility wrapped in a destiny. Kioshi soon found out about me and he forbid her to see me anymore, even though we had never even held hands. For a month I spent time with the girl of my dreams without ever feeling the grace of her skin.

Two days after Kioshi' proclamation the calender read: December 7th, 1941. Myself and the Tennessee were both wounded that day. We took multiple direct bomb hits as well as a massive spill over oil fire that we inherited from the Arizona. I thought for sure we were going down. The Arizona eventually sunk but myself and the Tennessee were fortunate enough to survive and we lived to fight another day. We spent a week or two making initial repairs to her and then set sail for Puget Sound mainland Washington, to make the remaining necessary repairs and preparations for war. I never even had a chance to say goodbye to Yuki or to tell her what she meant to me. As we sailed away to the northeast, I knew I would never see her again.

Extensive repairs and modifications were made to the Tennessee and in May of 1943 it was finally time to make our impression on the war. We fought battles at Tarawa, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, New Ireland, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Anguar and Pelieu. We also played a hand in sinking the mighty Yamashiro in the battle of Surigao Strait. Shortly thereafter we set sail and returned stateside for repairs and another overhaul. We returned to the fight in time to participate in the Iwo Jima Operation. Providing mainly gunfire support for the ground troops.

Throughout my years at sea I would think of Yuki from time to time. I would think of her breathtaking smile and her soft hands that I never felt in mine. I thought about our conversations that flowed smoother than the ocean, and the day at the market when I spotted her for the first time. The only thing that gave me any comfort from the fact that I couldn't see her, was knowing that Kioshi was a good man. I knew he would care for her.

As you know, Japan ultimately surrendered, but we continued to occupy the region until we finally set sail for Philadelphia for good in December, 1946. Soon thereafter myself and the Tennessee were decommissioned from the Navy.

Patricia and I married in the summer of 1948 and we had a wonderful life together. I began working as a plumber and we had two wonderful children. We had been married for 52 years exactly when we discovered that Patricia had cancer. Patricia was a fighter and she lived with it for 3 years when the doctors only gave her a few months. She was my entire life and the mother of my children, I loved her dearly. The pain was unbearable for me. I grieved for a long time and the only thing I took comfort in was the fact that I knew I would be cashing my own ticket in soon. During that time, I knew that there was someone in this world who could make my pain subside. Someone who's eyes I could look into and I would know that everything was going to be alright. Someone I could love. So one day I decided that if Yuki was still out there, I was going to find her. I couldn't live anymore without knowing. I called my travel agent and booked a flight to Hawaii, to search for somebody I hadn't seen or spoken to in 65 years.

Thankfully, she was alive and still lived in the same town. It only took me a day to find her. The first time I looked at her again I had that same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had 65 years ago. I knew instantly that this was still the love of my life. My soul-mate. I couldn't believe what I heard when Yuki informed me that her story mimicked mine. She had married Kioshi shortly after I shipped out and had been married to him for 52 years until he too, succumbed to cancer.

No way.
I said.

Tom continued:
She was living by herself after Kioshi' passing and she told me that throughout the years, her thoughts would wander to me, just like mine had to her. In fact, I like to think that we were always thinking of each other at the same exact time. Every time I was thinking of Yuki, some thousands of miles away Yuki was thinking of me at that very moment as well. Isn't that right sweetheart?

Tom said half jokingly, Yuki replied, trying not to cry:

That's right.

Wow. Really, unbelievable.
I said as we pulled up to the Hawaiian Airlines drop off at the port.

I can't believe it either, neither of us can.

Tom said.

...So we've spent every waking moment together since. Yuki told me that she felt the same exact way that I did the day she first seen me in the market. But of course she could not say so then, nor could I. Then one night, I asked Yuki to be my wife, "till death do us part", and she graciously accepted. That was two weeks ago and now here we are, on our way back to Hawaii to start our new life together....and telling the story to you.

I turned the meter off, put the cab in park and got out to open the doors for the newlyweds. I opened Tom's door first and as he protracted his feet to the pavement, I ran around and opened Yuki's door. I offered Yuki my hand to assist her out of the cab. She grabbed it and as she stood up she looked at me and I noticed the tears in her eyes.

You're not making moves on my lady there are you sport?
Tom said in his witty way.

No sir, I would never dream of it.

I closed the trunk-lid after grabbing the luggage and that's when Tom noticed that Yuki was crying. He began to slowly navigate his way over to her, seemingly summoning one last burst of strength from his weary legs. Yuki stood there waiting, like she had for all those years. Tom used the advertisement on the trunk and other parts of the cab as a makeshift crutch until he was finally able to completely engulf her in his arms. One across her body, the other behind her head. I set the bags on the curb and couldn't help but stare at their embrace. It was like I was invading them somehow, and I became envious of the most beautiful life moment I have ever witnessed. It was their moment. I cracked a smile and forced my eyes away as I opened the door to get back into the cab. Tom turned his head over Yuki's and said:

Wait son, what do we owe you?

Take care of each other, that's what you owe me. Have a safe flight home, and we'll see you next time you're in Vegas ok?

I drove away and noticed in the rear-view that Tom & Yuki hadn't moved an inch. Still holding each other until they finally disappeared from my sight. I couldn't help but think that Tom had said it best:

"An impossibility wrapped in a destiny"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I was dropping off at the IP. When I pulled up there must have been 30 people waiting in line, no cabs to be seen. The couple that was next in line for a cab were impatient and couldn't even wait for my current passenger to exit fully before they tried getting in. The new passenger bumps into my old passenger as he is getting out and they got into it briefly:

Old Passenger:
Watch where the fuck you're going man. You can't wait two seconds for me to get out?....dumb ass...

New Passenger:
Fuck off, I'll do whatever I want.

My old passenger walked away and the new one proceeded to help his drunk girlfriend into the backseat.

This is going to be a fun one I thought. That's F-U-N. I probably should have refused the ride right then and there but I decided to take them. I have no idea why. I asked where they were going and the guy responded:

Take us to Luxor.

She's not going to get sick is she?

No. She's alright.

He said as I turned around to see that the girl is already laying down in the backseat.

Are you sure? ...Because if that chick pukes in my cab we're going to have problems, and I'm not going to walk away like that guy did.

Don't worry about it, she won't get sick

Interestingly, it's always the people who say shit like that who end up causing problems.

Truth be told, I have never had anyone puke in the cab(knock on wood). This is mostly due to the fact that I generally don't load people I think will end up losing their lunch. If I do load them, I'll let them know in advance, like I'm doing here, that there are few things in this world that are going to piss me off more than that.

Look man, if she pukes I'll give you $200 ok? Can you just take us to the Luxor please?

I reached my right hand towards the back seat.

Shake it. If she pukes, you're giving me two hundred dollars.


He shook my hand and I turned the meter on. I put the cab in gear and made a right hand turn to go out the back way towards the alley.

Along the way I tried to conceal the fact that I was annoyed, but I'm not very good at that for some reason. We made it all the way to Reno & the BLVD. (directly across the street from Luxor) without incident. I was waiting for the light to change, literally feet from our destination. Then our girl speaks up and says in her best half passed out drunk chick voice:

I think I'm going to puke

I was torn, but I knew I didn't want the two hundred bucks that badly. I rolled the windows down as the guy is trying to convince her to hold it for "few more seconds". The light changed and I motored it up toward the main entrance at the Luxor, thinking the massive speed bumps would be our ultimate demise. Thankfully we made it and as soon as we came to a stop at the front door the girl bolts out of the cab and heads for the bushes that run alongside the base of the pyramid. I got out, walked around to the other side of the cab to address the guy:

Ohhh so close...lucky you. It's $10.70.

I should have figured from the very beginning. How stupid of me....

Can you wait for a second? I need to run inside and use the ATM.


I don't have any cash on me, I need to run inside and use the ATM so I can pay you.

Just so we're clear, you got into my cab without any money to pay for it. On top of that, you placed a bet with me with money that you don't even have. Did I get that right?

If he didn't gather that I was annoyed before he certainly does now.

I guess so...Yeah. Look, it's not a big deal, I'll give you 20 bucks when I get back ok?

Don't tell me it's not a big deal. You're wasting my time right now and unfortunately for you, that's a huge deal as far as I'm concerned. Take out your ATM card, give me your wallet, ID and credit cards as collateral and go get your cash.

I looked over and noticed a bigger line of people waiting for cabs than there was at IP. He took his ATM card out of his wallet and handed the fake leather bi-fold to me.

Ok, I'll be right back. Can you make sure she doesn't wander off while I'm gone?

Go get my twenty bucks.

Asking me for any help at this point is an exercise in futility. He started to walk inside and I climbed back into the cab, catching a glance at the chick still shouting "Europe" at the bushes. I thought to myself that him actually returning with any cash at all was even money at best.

Thankfully our hero returned in a timely fashion. As he walked around to my side I lowered my window and he traded me a twenty spot for his wallet and ID back. I thought we were done but for some reason he couldn't let it be at that:

You know, you don't have to be asshole about it.

I laughed out loud.

That's where you're wrong. If I'm not an asshole than you'll continue to dick me around. That's how it works, trust me. If I let you dick me around, you will. So I'm not going to let you. Forgive me for not being Mr. Nice Guy about you fucking up my program.

He raises his voice:

What's you're deal man?

My deal is, when people waste my time my income is affected. You see all these people here waiting for a cab? I know that doesn't mean shit to you but we're talking about my livelihood here. That's not something that I take lightly and it's incredibly inconsiderate and disrespectful of you to disregard that. Excuse me for trying to hold you accountable to a reasonable standard of taxi-cab patronage. Perhaps if Daddy would have taught you right, you would have made sure you had money to pay for the services you required beforehand. This is a task that 99% of my passengers can negotiate successfully. You on the other hand, are another story.

I want my change.


What was the meter amount? Ten something? I want my nine bucks back.

I laughed out loud again, then looked him right in the eye with a straight face and said:


You can't steal from me like that...I WANT MY FUCKING CHANGE BACK.

He said it loud enough that the doorman gave me a look, along with seemingly everyone in the taxi line.

Who's stealing? You said you would give me 20 dollars for wasting my time. You wasted my time and then you gave me twenty dollars. End of transaction. Our business has concluded thank you.

The sarcastic "thank you" probably didn't help my cause any, but I seriously don't give a fuck at this point. I mean, I fully understand this guys beef with me, I am being an asshole right now. It's the fact that he doesn't understand mine is where the disconnect lies.

He starts yelling at the top of his lungs, presumably to get securities attention.


Stop being a little bitch dude. I'm leaving now. I suggest you take down my cab number and file a complaint with the TaxiCab Authority if you feel that strongly about it.

I said as I rolled up my window. By this time of course there is a line of cabs so they're not going to load me, I have to go to the back of the line. So I put the cab in gear and slowly drove away hoping the guy wouldn't do anything really stupid. As I pulled away I could see in the rear view that he was checking out my cab number. I wasn't worried in the least about hearing from the TA later. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. If it appears at all, which it probably won't. Sorry, but I'm not paying sweetheart ten bucks because he got his feelings hurt. Besides, I told him exactly what to do if he really feels he was wronged.

I exited Luxor's property and went directly across the street to the end of the cab line at Mandalay Bay. Standard operating procedure for me after clearing at Luxor. After staging for a few minutes I found myself as the fourth cab in line. On the sidewalk adjacent to to the cab line I noticed two very attractive blonds, one holding a small white "accessory" dog in her arm. You know that retarded fad you see on MTV and other lame stations? They were bent over talking to the second cab in line through his shotgun window. The spoke for a short time, then the girls walked back one cab to the 3rd one in line. That driver rolled down his window, the girls bent over and talked to him for about a minute. Apparently not getting the answer they wanted, they stopped talking to that driver and our eyes met as they approached my cab.

I locked my doors and rolled my passenger side window down. Every time you see other drivers refuse something, it's a good clue that it's something you're not going to want to do either. (See this story) The trendy dog holder bent over and stuck her head in:

Can you take us to the Candlewood Suites?...We don't have any cash on us but we do in our room, so can you take us and wait for us to run upstairs and get the money to pay you?...We'll give you a big tip for the trouble.

I laughed out loud, again. However, the best thing these chicks had going for themselves, besides being hot, was the fact that they were telling the drivers what the situation was beforehand. A fundamental, however incredibly important distinction in my mind. They informed me of the risk from the very beginning. If I take them, it's my own fault if I end up not getting paid. I thought about it, then replied:

That's fine, I'll help you guys out. But I'm holding Sparky for ransom until you get back.