Confessions of a lady cab driver

Twin Cities-based cabbie Chey Eisenman talks death and taxis and everything in between

Mr. Good Guy dragged me out the passenger side door, my grip loosening as I hit the pavement. He fled into the night with my brand new purse from Primp.

First reaction: Fuck! He nearly tore one of my nails off!

Second reaction: You'd be surprised how quickly the costs of the contents of a woman's purse add up. I had to replace my $75 moisturizer, $28 mascara, $30 hand cream, $25 lip gloss, $30 Apple earbuds, etc. In the slow months of summer, I wasn't too happy about having to replace my daily essentials.

Chey Eisenman began driving a cab when she lost her two jobs, but not her bills
E. Katie Holm
Chey Eisenman began driving a cab when she lost her two jobs, but not her bills
E. Katie Holm

I'd seen this moment coming, so I'd turned on the interior lights twice en route to memorize details. Blue shirt, brown shirt, and white shirt. Who was wearing caps. Which one had a backpack. In the heat of the moment, and with people sitting behind you, it's easy to be unable to ID a suspect. I calmed myself and called 911, providing detailed descriptions of each.

St. Paul police quickly sent four officers (community cheers!). A female cabdriver had been robbed (and broke a fucking nail); the boys were on it.

They set up a perimeter. I had overheard one of the thugs say something about a duplex, a first floor, and a chick. We narrowed down the house.

A police search yielded a girl on the first floor who dudes like this go to see in the middle of the night. The kind of girl who hides dudes like this was living on the second floor, according to the cops. But no dudes.

The cops cleared out and I thought they'd given up. But they returned to the duplex an hour later (this time with eight officers) and found my four dudes still wearing the same clothes. (Robbery 101: Always select a new wardrobe after the crime.)

Turns out, Mr. Racist had a long and alarming record; the guy in front was the only one with a clean record. Sadly, Mr. Good Guy Gangbanger was the only one charged. He'll now have a record of the company he kept that night.

Three dudes & a drug deal gone bad

In an effort to grow my business and to shield myself from danger, I began seeking new ways to find clients. I leveraged Siri, Apple's voice-automated assistant, to drive business to Chey Cab.

Long before people were hailing cabs on apps, I would pop up if they asked Siri to find them a taxi. My new online clientele helped insulate me from random street thugs that come through dispatch computers.

My most memorable Siri hail was the young Target employees. It was a busy winter night in St. Paul when a call came from three guys on a West Side corner near some sketchy neighborhoods. Cabbie fact: When someone calls you to a street corner in the 'hood, it's basically the same thing as someone taking a case of beer to a bar. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to not be at an address, but not usually in a bad area after dark. And certainly not in the dead of winter.

They seemed desperate, and I never got shady Siri calls back in the day when gangbangers didn't have iPhones. Their story wasn't adding up about where they were and why. And they wouldn't give me an address.

I told them to call someone else; I had other customers waiting. Forty minutes later they called back. They hadn't gotten a cab and they were turning into icicles. The desperate voice inspired me to help.

A fellow cabbie we call Sasquatch — he jokes that National Geographic follows him around — was in the area and I asked him to follow me. As a bodyguard, he was perfect. A stranger would never guess that he melts for kitties.

As I approached the neighborhood, squad cars were coming from all directions. I pulled up to the designated corner, where a man was surrounded by cops. There were supposed to be three people, and I was pretty sure the cops weren't included in that total.

A very attractive officer from West St. Paul told me they had responded to a call of suspicious activity. But my customer had a story that passed the sniff test, so they released him into my custody. When I asked the passenger about his friends, he told me they had run off. It didn't take long to find them.

One was badly beaten. The other just looked tired. They got in the cab and started yelling at customer number 1, saying that the only reason he didn't get his ass beat is because he could run faster. I interrupted the reunion and asked where we were going (Edina-Minneapolis border) and for my money up front.

It turned out that they thought it would be funny to short a drug dealer at the Plato Boulevard Holiday. They got jumped and robbed for their douchebaggery, but they learned a valuable life lesson: Hollywood does not lie about everything. Stealing from drug dealers is best left to professional actors.

As luck would have it, between the three of them they still had one wallet and one cellphone — enough for Siri and Chey Cab to save them from that cold corner.

The stripper & a murder

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