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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Thanks for the information! I've always been lucky to find awesome cab drivers like yourself. I actually really enjoy riding in cabs. I love talking to taxi drivers. It's nice getting to know new people!


I was just wondering where I could get the "gangbanger" detector this racist cab driver must have had in order to be able to tell if someone is in a gang or not. Or is "gangbanger" code for something the target market of Citypages gets. When speaking of her $20 a day customer, she put no label on her (gangbanger, riff-raff, thug,ect...) I bet she was white. (Or maybe it's because the use of a taxi in prostitution is prohibited. So is asking to be paid up front.)Fwd Fwd Fwd


The article was riveting. I hope to read more by Eisenman in the future!


These are great stories and you have good writing skills. But I have to ask:

You were worried about making rent, yet you still bought a "brand new" Primp purse and considered "$75 moisturizer, $28 mascara, $30 hand cream, $25 lip gloss, $30 Apple earbuds, etc." to be "daily essentials?"

If you lived with a bit of frugality, you wouldn't have to drive a cab! Of course, if you enjoy the risk, by all means drive a cab and keep telling stories. 

But if you'd like a more leisurely, less risky job, check out the mister money mustache blog. If nothing else you'll enjoy his writing style, which is similar to yours.


sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter


so you cant really be sure if she is racist

but for a fact you are as you state "bet she was white" 

the article tells you

get a clue 

if you dont like stereotypes stop supporting them


@ryanflanders No kidding..most cabbies I know can barely pa their lease let alone afford high=priced items.  



The author, who is an excellent writer, listed $158 of beauty products in an expensive bag. Below I've listed the same products for a total of $22. If this is a monthly purchase, the yearly cost is $1896 vs $264.

How many cab fares does it take to make up the difference of $1632? That doesn't even require "going without" these "essentials", it just means selecting more affordable products.

Boy, do I feel like an idiot for making a friendly suggesting that could improve a person's lifestyle and save them $16,320 over ten years (not even accounting for compound interest).

$8 moisturizer:

$5 mascara:

$4 hand cream:

$5 lip gloss:


The woman was sexually assaulted while at work, but by all means focus on the important things like how much her moisturizer cost.


@ryanflanders @sillyboys this was my immediate thought as well. i am a female, and i make over $80K annually. i buy Olay from Costco in a 2-pack because it is cheaper than Target and use the free mascara i get in my Clinique bonuses. i also don't have an iPhone. all of these seem totally unnecessary and point to a major issue with overconsumption and gluttony in america.


@MakeItSo  please tone down the drama, not a single person discounted the fact that this happened to her.

however, if I were so concerned with my safety, I sure as hell wouldn't be carrying hundreds of dollars of products on the seat of my vehicle. and as ryan says below, if life is so difficult, why in the world are you spending so irresponsibly?


@MakeItSo Of course we don't want our dear author to get robbed and sexually assaulted. Frugality is very relevant to the discussion. If she limited her overspending, she would have the option of working a less risky job.

The photo cultine reads "Chey Eisenman began driving a cab when she lost her two jobs, but not her bills."

We are merely suggesting that scaling back some of her bills would allow her to choose a safer occupation.


@NoMoreGasthof @MakeItSo I'm not being dramatic. I may have used the oh-so-dramatic-phrase "sexually assaulted" for flair(and accuracy), but really, I just think it's ridiculous that someone read that entire piece and the thing they felt was worth criticizing was the cost of her personal products, as if that had anything to do with anything. It was such an off-hand comment in her story that to bring it up in the comments is missing the point.

She already is a cab driver, this stuff already happened to her, and from what I read, she's already in a place where she has built up a better clientele. These are merely her stories as a cab driver. She sounds smart and okay with her decisions, so to hit her with the frugality-slap seems rude and dismissive.


@MakeItSo @NoMoreGasthof again - you clearly miss the entire point. she ended up in a risky job that caused her to be in a situation where robbery, assault, etc. were a reality. if she wanted to be in a less risky job and climb out of the hole more quickly, she wouldn't spend so irresponsibly. if you don't think this is a major point of the article, and as i mentioned, a major issue in our society, then you need to do some soul searching. it's like people who buy electronics or gym memberships but not medications for their kids. they're out there, and it effects all of us as a society.


@NoMoreGasthof @MakeItSo No, you miss the point you fucking smug libertarian nazi cocksucker.  She lost her jobs, and that does NOT mean she made a bad decision, it means her fucking libertarian nazi fucking BOSSES fucked up and couldn't afford her plus their three houses and six cars and month long vacations anymore.  It's moralizing fucks like you that should be dropped by cabbies on the side of the freeway, or better yet in the middle of fucking no where in sub zero weather, and then you can use your "superior intellect and moral instincts" to figure out how to survive.