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He picked me up Friday night about 6:45 at the Enterprise car rental place on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma’s seedy South End. Yellow Cab guy. So what was I doing on the Enterprise car rental place on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma’s seedy South End? And why did I need a cab if I was in a car rental place? Don’t ask. It had been a really draggy two days…and wet.

So as we were chatting on the way to Lakewood Towne Center to pick up my mostly dead truck I found out that his name was Joe. I also found out that Joe really knew the streets of Tacoma’s seedy South End. I also, also discovered that Joe is homeless. Lost his house, which he had owned for 14 years, in August of 2009. His house payment (adjustable rate) went from $800 a month to $1500 in a period of about four years. Joe makes about $800 a month. The math is pretty simple. Fortunately the bank that made this delightful economic device got bailout money and can continue to serve folks like Joe.

Here’s how the cabby thing works. Joe pays $72 per day to rent the cab and buys his own gasoline. To say that his vehicle was a full-sized model would be somewhat of an understatement. More like a land yacht. So it costs him at least $100 a day just to end up at zero. Due to the deregulated (saving the consumer almost nothing) taxicab industry in Tacoma there are many days when he ends up in the hole by $20 or $30. He drives 12 hour shifts several days a week to make his 800 every month.

I kinda lied. Joe is not exactly homeless; he lives in a trailer that has electricity but no water at all. The funny thing is, though, he doesn’t seem bitter. I, on the other hand, take a severe emotional downswing when my truck craps out on me and I have to hassle for a couple of days. Maybe this guy has something to teach me.

One Comment

  1. kathyescobar wrote:

    this is why i love you. you remind me of the places that we’ll likely learn and they don’t look like where most of us have been taught. xo

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

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