The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, December 19, 2003  

Take That, Neal Pollack

Last night, in need of cigarettes, I made my way out of my otherwise comfortable abode, sometime around 11:00 p.m. Approaching the intersection of 13th and Spruce Streets I noticed a black woman trying to hail a cab. While she was within my sight I saw two cabs, both with their in-service lights on, pass her by.

After entering the nearest convenience store, taking some cash out of my account and then buying a pack of Benson & Hedges, I returned to the same corner, finding the same woman still trying to find a taxi.

“How long have you been out here?” I asked.

“About half an hour,” she responded.

“Looking for a cab the whole time?” I asked.

“Yeah. They’re just not stopping. I think it’s `cause they think I’m a man. I was thinking of taking my hat off so they know I’m a woman,” she said.

“Maybe, but I doubt it’s because they think you’re a man. I suspect it’s because you’re black,” I answered. [Ed.: The woman was all of 4 feet, 11 inches.]

“You think so? I’ve heard about that in New York and stuff,” she said.

“Watch this. You want a cab? I’ll get you a cab,” I said. “Stand back. Don’t move until I open the cab door, and then you step forward and slide in, okay?”

Within 30 seconds, and that’s an exaggeration, if anything, on the generous side, I had a cab at my beck and call, and she got a ride home.

Sure, Neal Pollack, the satirist who formerly made his home in Philadelphia, can say he’s friends with “a working class black woman,” but I can say, at the very least, that I got a cab for a black woman.

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