Watch your back(pack)
It was close to around 2am at The Ranch on West 6th when three guys jumped in my cab and told me to head to a very nice apartment/condo complex near Zilker Park. I was relatively new to pedicabbing and, rather than using a fanny pack to keep my money and phone close to my person, I had a backpack where I stored all my valuables. The guys were funny and seemed nice, so I had no reason to worry that anything bad might happen. Halfway through the ride, they requested I change the music. I pulled open my backpack, selected a different playlist, and put the phone back. Big mistake.
Going up the walking bridge over Town Lake towards South Lamar requires a lot of energy -- standing up, moving around, not really aware of your surroundings -- just focusing on getting to the top of the bridge. The guys were very quiet for this portion of the ride, and I would soon discover why.
When we finally arrived at their destination, they asked the price and then they handed me a debit card. I reach into my backpack for my Square reader and phone, and they're not there. My wallet containing all the money I had earned that night is gone as well. I then notice one of the guys starts suspiciously walking in the opposite direction of the residence and, without hesitation, I take off after him. He plays it cool and acts like I'm overreacting and that my wallet and phone must've fallen out.
I was a year into the job -- I've never lost a dollar or a thumbtack. What happened next was my saving grace. I have a distinct ringtone/text tone. I hear my tone and look to see the guy's pocket light up.
"That's my phone!"
He reaches into his pocket.
"Oh yeah, I found it on the ground and was gonna give it to you."
"Please just give me my wallet, and I'll let you guys have the ride for free."
The next half hour basically consisted of them claiming they didn't rob me, me threatening to call the cops, them explaining to me that they were high-up Army officials so who are the cops gonna believe, and them finally giving me something to compensate for my lost earnings when the cops were minutes away. The cop showed up and asked if there was a problem, and I sheepishly put my head down and said no. Needless to say, I got rid of the backpack and now ride with a fanny pack to protect my valuables.
Pedicabbing: 2½ years
Kiss and tell
One night I had this girl come up, it was one of the coldest nights, and she wanted to go to Lamar near 24 Diner. I got her in the cab and we started to ride. She was in a decent mood, kind of jovial. I said, “Do you remember me?” and she says no, and I told her about how she’d made out with me last week. And she said, “I kissed you?” and she started crying and says, “I’m a bad person. My boyfriend is gonna kill meeeeee.”
So I told her to calm down and took her to Lamar, and it turns out she’s way by MoPac -- way out of my range -- but I take her. She’s upset; I just want to get her out of her cab. That’s easily a $40-dollar ride, and she gets out and says, “Oh, wow,” and realizes she didn’t have her phone or her wallet. That happens all the time.
Pedicabbing: 2 years
I was waiting at Summit, and this guy was being pulled out by the bouncers. Probably early 20s, they’re kicking him out, and he’s like, “I need a ride, bro!” Those are the customers you don’t like, but I’ll take his money, whatever.
I get him in the cab and he’s still hyped up, and the entire ride, he’s yelling at people: “The hell with you!”…“Fuck you!”…“Your girlfriend’s ugly!”
I told him to sit down and be quiet, but you’re out there enough, you know something’s going to happen, and he does that all the way to the Sheraton. About three blocks before the Sheraton, there are some guys, and he says, “Hey bro,” and greets them, and then throws out a couple gay epithets.
We keep riding, and I look back, and these guys are chasing us. Then one catches up, and he stops right as he gets to the cab, and just slaps the shit out of him.
It was one of those weird things -- and that guy got him bad.
Pedicabbing: 2 years
One of the worst ones I can remember, it was these two guys I picked up, and I didn’t have to take them far, but they were pretty stumble-y. I get them to the place and they try to stiff me. I said, “Hold on, that’s not cool.”
Anyways, they don’t like that much and one decides to take a swing at me but it was this Matrix-like thing and really slow. I just stepped out of the way like a karate master, and he stumbles and gets really mad. Then, these two dudes standing outside the club walk up to me like, “Hey man, is everything cool?” I turn around, and it’s these two guys I know from high school, and they kind of intimidated the one guy and the other guy who was trying to stiff me into giving me more money.
Pretty much immediately after, this other guy flags me down and gives me a ridiculous amount to take him back to his hotel room and wait for him while he gets weed or something, and that totally made up for the two assholes who tried to stiff me.
Pedicabbing: 5 years