Richard Bostwick Reminiscences
Cab Driving Stories
Above And Beyond The Call
The time was 12:00 midnight-I was at the end of the line and due out on the next call that came in. It was also time for my lunch break, but I decided not to sacrifice my position in line in order to go and eat. That could wait. It was late in the fall and the weather was quite cold. We had not yet had any snow, though. It was not long until the dispatcher called and sent me to an address on the north side of town.
As I pulled up in front of the darkened house, a middle-aged woman came down the front walk. She climbed into my cab and asked if I knew where the Del Mar Apartments were. I assured her that I did and she then said that was where she wanted to go. Now the Del Mar Apartments were way over on the other side of town. It was considered to be a rather high-class apartment building.
As we crossed town, stopping at several stop signs, I had a chance to observe my passenger in my rear view mirror. She was a rather small person, quite well dressed. As we neared the Del Mar, she requested that I park this side of the entrance to the apartment building, which I did. As I came to a stop, she said she did not wish to get out just yet, as she wanted to wait for her husband. She then asked me if I would please turn out my headlights and shut off my motor. I did as she asked.
We sat there for some time in the darkness and at times I could hear her softly sobbing. There was no conversation between us, but I could tell that this woman was in a very emotional state of mind. Every once in awhile, a private car or taxi cab would pull up in front of the apartment building to discharge passengers. Each time, my passenger would become alert. She would grab the door handle as though she was going to leap out. Otherwise, she just sat there in the dark, chain smoking one cigarette after another.
After sitting in the cold darkness for better than an hour, I was hoping her husband would soon show up, for I was getting pretty hungry. A short time later, a Buick sedan pulled up and parked in front of the apartment building. A man and a young woman got out and headed for the entrance. My passenger immediately dashed out of my cab and ran toward the couple. She had shed her fur coat, and I saw she was clutching a butcher knife in one hand. My God! I said to myself. She is going to kill someone!
I was out of my cab almost as quickly as she was and yelled, “Look out! She's got a knife!” The man did not hesitate for a moment, but dove back into his car and took off. His haste was not necessary, for my passenger was not concerned with him-it was the girl, her rival, she was after. The girl at the same time made a dash for the building entrance. But in doing this she slipped and down she went. I figure her fall was either due to the thin sheet of frost on the ground, or the high heels she was wearing-perhaps both.
As I caught up to my passenger she was kneeling over her intended victim. She was holding her down with one hand, and the other hand held the butcher knife aloft. The young girl lay on her back on the sidewalk, kicking and screaming for help. I grabbed my passengers wrist and wrenched the knife away from her. The girl, still screaming, scrambled into the entrance of the apartment building.
All of the commotion must have awakened several of the tenants in the building, for there were lights coming on in several of the front windows. I grabbed my passenger and shoved her back into my cab. I threw the knife on the floor in the front compartment and pulled away. My passenger was slumped down in the corner of the back seat, crying as d as she could. I was not more than a couple of blocks down the street when I met a squad car speeding in the direction of the Del Mar. My passenger had finally calmed down enough to tell me to take her home.
When I got there, she had regained her composure somewhat and I noticed the Buick parked in the front driveway. The house was all lit up as I helped the woman out of the cab and up the front walk. Her husband at this point came out on the porch with his arms held out towards her-all the time telling her how sorry he was as he ‘honeyed' her up with a lot of endearments. He paid me the cab fare, plus a generous tip. She then started to cry again. With their arms around each other, they went on in to the house.
As they closed the door behind them, I stood for a moment on the front walk, looking after them and thinking of how tragic their evening could have ended.
The knife? The next morning after I finished my shift, I took the knife home with me. It proved to be a very high-grade piece of cutlery and we made good use of it for several years.
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