A Baby Blue Story
of John Crawford
One evening in spring of 1987, I was on duty driving my cab around Manhattan.
Around 8:30, Ipicked up a woman about 70, who asked me to drop
her off at 5th Avenue and 13th Street. We reached her destination and
I turned aruond to tell her how much she owned.As she began digging in her
purse, I casually turned back aruond and saw Bob Dylan standing directly
in front of may cab.
For a second, I thought I was hallucinating, maybe from a lack of sleep are too
much caffeine.But I quickly realized that this was real;it was him.
I strarted waving frantically, signaling that i`d pick him up as soon as this
lady finished paying.He guestered back, indicating he saw me and planned
to take my cab.My legs began shaking , and my heart was racing about 100 beats
At this point, I`m completeley focused on Dylan while trying to talk to the woman
and remain polite.She said,"I`m looking for my money.It`s in he
I was getting anxious and said,"Maàm,it`s allright.You don`t have to pay.
If you just leave the cab, It`s okay."
Unfortunately, that was the wrong thing to say:She became confused and said,"What?
What do you mean?"
I told her straightout,"Maàm, Bob Dylan is standing right in front of this cab,
and i would really like to have him as a passenger."
"Bob who?...Bob Who?"
I was trying to stay as cool as possible and again tried to explain the situation.
Finally, she handed me the money, but it wasn`t over yet.She began
looking around in her pocketbook again.I was getting irritated
and asked, "What are you doing back here?"
I`m looking for more money, so i can give you a tip."That was it:
I lost my cool:" Ma`am, please.I don`t want a tip."
To which she replied, "No, I always tip my cab drivers."
By now Icould tell Dylan was getting a little antsy, so i waved at him to clinb in.
But he didn`t signal back.He just kept lookink right at me.
Apparently, he was waiting for her to climb out.
I handed the woman back the five dollars she had just given me and said, "If you`ll
get out of the cab, you not only don`t have to tipme, but this is yours." She went into
a dialogue about how it "just didn`t seem right for menot to charge her."
I looked at her and said, "Ma`am,the biggest event in my life
would be for me to have Bob Dylan ride in my cab.Please get out."
Finally she took back her five dollars, opened the door, and began to climb out.I looked
back at Dylan and beeped my horn , waving franticlly.Just
then another cab pulled up behind me,and all i could do was
sit there and watch as Dylan put his arm up and hailed it.
Talk about disappointment.Ireally couldn`t blame him, though because he `d been waiting
for almost five minutes, although it seemed closer to 30 to me.
After all that, the woman ended up leaving a quarter tip.I`ll
never foret that - a25 cent tip.
It`s been 12 years sice that day, and I`m still driving a cab in New York City.Who knows?
Maybe someday I`ll again see Bobby Dylan ftying to hail a cab.
You can bet I`ll be ready this time.