Being a city cab driver is as dangerous as being a cop -- maybe even more so, assuming your cab driver is unarmed.
One San Francisco cabbie recently learned just how troubling the job can be when he was the target in a drunken assault.
At about 8:15 p.m. on Sunday, a Royal taxi driver picked up an intoxicated man on the corner of Mission and 16th Streets and headed toward the man's destination -- the Upper Haight. When he stopped at the corner of Shrader and Haight Streets, the passenger got out, walked to the driver's side of the car and punched his young cabbie in the head.
The man walked off without paying his fare; the taxi driver called police as he followed him in the cab all the way to the 1700 block of Waller Street. Police arrived and arrested the 31-year-old Lower Haight resident on suspicion of battery and public intoxication. Even while in handcuffs, the suspect continued to curse at officers, who thought it was best to ship him off to detox.
Police Captain Denis O'Leary tells SF Weekly that this incident is telling about the job of a cab driver and the sheer danger that's defined by chauffeuring around total strangers, who may or may not be mentally stable.
"They are in a very vulnerable position," O' Leary says. "They have to keep their wits about them because they are subject to robberies and beatings. I don't even think we even hear about half the things that go on in these cabs."
And that's scary.
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