I only dropped a block away but wild horses couldn’t normally pull me back to pick up a person that hammered. Next to a teenage ghetto gangster, a soused twenty-something woman is the most dangerous person you can let into your cab. Maybe more dangerous in the age of credit cards. These days a stickup artist is lucky to get fifty bucks. A dedicated vomiter that puts your cab out of commission on a Friday night can cost you two or three hundred.
However, she looked at me with such desperation and she was so beautiful that I felt morally compelled to go back and save her. When I returned she had made it twenty feet and was hugging another tree.
I approached warily. I gave her the test that I usually give to see whether or not a person is too zonked to handle. I pulled up ten feet away and stopped so that she’d have to pass my walking test to get in the cab. She failed in the first two steps. She almost fell over and stumbled back to her tree.
Common sense told me to leave but she looked so helplessness that I couldn’t resist. I pulled up next to her. She lunged for the right rear door handle, struggled a bit, opened it and half slid and half fell into the cab. As she straightened up she said,
“I don’t usually drink.”
My joke was a mistake. She started to laugh which quickly turned into a gagging burp. She unsuccessfully tried to lower the window. I leaned over and pushed open the door. She stuck her head out and threw up. She somehow managed to do it with decorum and style. I gave her some napkins and she delicately cleaned her lips and mouth.
Then I drove her home. Nothing else happened.
Why do I remember this?
I think it was the look of gratitude that she gave me. Nobody else would’ve picked her up and she knew it. There is hardly anybody who appreciates what we do. But she did.