Pick up this REALLY cute guy down the street from one of the nicer clubs in town - Aura, at about 1:30a one Saturday. He hops in front with me.
Me: Hi there. How ya doin?
He: Not so hot. I'm fighting with my girl.
Me: I'm sorry to hear that. Am I taking you home?
He: Nah. I have a couple of friends downtown ... somewhere.
Me: "Somewhere"? So you just wanna drive around and look for them? *grin*
He: Do you mind?
Me: I was just kidding. But no, I don't mind. Any ideas which area?
He: I think they're supposed to be down by Bar 71.
Me: Parking down there is at a premium, shouldn't be too hard to find 'em. Unless they're in a parking lot. Then we might be outta luck.
He: It's all right. I don't mind driving around. Just head down that way and I'll look for his car.
Me: All right.
long story short: As we were driving around we chatted about his girlfriend, his friends, basically lfie in general. The whole time I'm stealing looks at him sitting next to me 'cuz this boy is cute! I mean, young Brad Pitt kind of cute.
We pull around to a parking lot by 2nd NW Everett.
He: Hey, pull down this street! I think I see his car, right over there. He points to the right.
Me: OK, which one is it?
He: What say you just give me your money? *grin*
Me: dazzled by this boy's cute smile What say I don't!
He: glances down What say you DO.
Me: looking down and seeing a gun in his hand, pointed at me. Well shit. I'm guessing you don't see your friends car, huh?
He: You're kind of funny. I'm sorry to do this, but I need you to give me your money. I don't want to kill you.
Me: digging in my pocket Well, I'm glad to hear you don't WANT to kill me. Here ya go.
He: looking at what I gave him. This is it? $15.00?? Bullshit. Where's the rest?
Me: Hey now, I just started for the night. I haven't made anything yet. That's my change pack. It's all I have, really.
He: Bull SHIT!! I KNOW you cab drivers carry more than this on you! I've SEEN it!
Me: Not me. I deposit my money as soon as I get it ... in case I get robbed. Ya know?
He: getting a little twitchy now, looking around Give me your damned credit card!!
Me: digging again OK. Here it is. But it's a deposit only card. Just in case. *shrug*
He: getting more upset, puts the gun against my forehead You had better tell me where all your money is, and RIGHT NOW! No more jokes. No more fucking around. Where is it?!!
Me: Hey, come on now. I just started. Look, here's my log sheet, I have nothing on it.
He: grabs the log sheet from me and throws it in the back seat. DAMN IT!!
Me: Just looking at him.
He: FUCK! Don't move.
Me: not moving.
He: reaching over and opening his door. You're lucky.
Me: I feel that way. You go that way, I'll go this way, whatcha say?
He: Have a nice day!! and he hops out and runs to the left.
I turn right, going the wrong way down a one way street, very fast! I pull over 3 blocks later at the Amtrak station (it's the most well lit place around that's open, and I've gotten to know some of the security guards there pretty well). I get on the radio and tell my dispatcher what happened, he calls the p.d. while I'm on the radio, I have to give a description so they can drive around the immediate vicinity and see if they can spot the guy.
The dispatcher tells me they will be there when they're done checking the area as long as I'm in a safe place, unless I want one there right away. I'm all right where I am. I sit in my car and write down what happened, as I remembered it and drew a sketch of the guy (sketch at end of this entry).
A p.d. car shows up with 2 officers. They ask me to describe what happened. I tell them what I remembered, then described what he was wearing.
Me: Oh, and I drew a picture of him. I draw. Here.
They look at it, then at me. Then one officer looks at his partner and they start whispering behind their hands to each other.
Right then, one of our other drivers drove up. The dispatcher called him and asked him to drive over and check on me.
Ron: parked and got out of his car. Are you OK?
Me: started BAWLING!!! big, ol' ugly tears. Not pretty.
He put his arms around me and I just lost it. (Poor guy just started 2 days before this :o)
The officers walk off and talk for a minute, then come back after I've calmed down a bit.
Me: All right, what were you guys whispering about?
Well, turns out that someone that matches this guys description, EXACTLY, killed 2 people at the bar close to where I picked him up at, just a week before that. Just walked into the bar and started shooting.
Me: *blink* Ummm .... *blink* Are you shitting me?
True Story. I freaked. Had to go home. Ron followed me all the way to make sure I made it ok.
Next morning, at about 7a, I get a call from an officer downtown saying they had a young man in custody that looked like my sketch and they wanted me to come down in the afternoon and do a line up at about noon.
At about 11a I get a call from the detective in charge of the case. He says I can't come down and do a line up because they would rather I did a police sketch artist first. I was a good artist and all, but they couldn't use my sketch. Had to be someone that could go to court and testify.
Fine. He gave me the number of the sketch artist detective and asked that I call her. I did. Set up an appt for later that afternoon.
I went in about 2p and met with her. She was really cool, and -understandably- incredibly calm. All she asked was that I describe to her what had happened, then what he was wearing. She took notes. Explained that what she did was take notes, I would come back in another day or two and she would have a picture for me to look at and we could refine it from there. I asked about the guy in custody, she said they had to let him go, he wasn't the guy. Apparently he was in jail at the time I got arrested.
After I finished up with her I took my sketch down to Kinkos and made a hundred copies. I took them to the 2 largest cab companies here and told them what happened and to pass out the pictures. Turns out I was too late. This same guy (according to other driver) robbed him at gun point at about 2p that day. AND THEN he robbed a cab driver from the other largest company in town about 18 hours after that one, and this time he had another guy with him. Everyone was speculating that he was starting a career.
I went back to the detective 2 days later, we refined the sketch and talked a bit. When we finished she pulled out the sketch that I drew. It was pretty close. She said she hadn't looked at it because she couldn't be influenced by what I had drawn. I gotta tell ya, I was INCREDIBLY impressed with her being able to draw just from what I had described. I can draw just about anything, but there's no way I could do what she does, it really was amazing.
We finished, she said she would give it to the detective in charge and they would call me when they knew something.
I called back 2 days after that, they still hadn't caught the guy. And I never heard from them again.
Interestingly enough, this never made the news, although everyone (at least the cabbies) was talking about it, and spread the word. Almost all of my sketch copies were in cabs for quite some time after that.
One good thing did come out of this. A year before I got robbed, the city cab commission had doubled the rate of our cab licenses because they said they were going to put cameras in our cabs but hadn't gotten around to finding a night-compatible camera that would work. (Hell, if they can base an entire series on HBO with those things you'd think they could find something that would work.) But not long after this happened to me they had a meeting and decided they had to find some. Now it's mandatory to have working cameras in our cabs.
As it stands, I have the dubious honor of being the only female cab driver in Ptld to get robbed at gun point.
This happened August of 2004, and only 1.5 weeks after I bought my cab. We had approximately 45 women (of a total of about 1,200) cabbies in Portland when this happened. Now we have less than 15, and - near as I can tell - only 4 of them drive nights.