Father Hannah

Detour Passengers,

I’m down with the flu, folks. And there’s been a cold rain and grey clouds hovering over San Francisco in recent days – both figuratively and literally.

So, your driver is phoning it in this week, with an oldie but goodie, feel good story. I think we could all use some positive respite, from before the storm.

Let us now all now confess, to Father Hannah…


SacK of Citizen’s Cab #26





I’m driving predawn through well-to-do Pac Heights in what promises, and smells, to be a beautiful day ahead, when,

“Cha-ching! – 2395 Sacramento. Hannah. Dispatch,” rings over the Cabulous phone.

And, I ‘Accept.’

It’s only two blocks away and I’m very much happy to. It’s been a quiet morning so far.

I get to Sac & Webster fast and just start to scan for street numbers before spotting a tall, slim figure in a khaki skirt pops out between some parked cars from the dark sidewalk up ahead.


A the late 20-something, semi-pretty/semi-geeky blonde Hannah sinks in back. And with a jittery yawn, she attempts to eke out a destination,

“Dav-is, uh, no. Dave, uh…”

“UPMC – Davies Campus,” I interject to save her, with waybill and pen in hand.

“Yes! Thank you! I just got beeped for the third time in 24 hours. I’m a chaplain and need to go sit by someone’s bed,” Hannah comes back, surprised I have divined where she’s headed, and grateful for the help.

She was coming out from the Pac Heights campus of the CPMC hospital system. It just seems obvious from “Dav” where she is going. Though, this is very unusual at this time of morning.


“Sit by someone’s bed”?

And the bemoaned, “Third beep in 24 hours”???


No, wait. It is priests who do last rights, NOT chaplains! Hmm.

Still, seems like a harsh way to wake up.

And, it seems like that’s what Hannah’s thinking, too.

But, Hannah soon gets past her grogginess and starts-in all talkative commenting on San Francisco’s recent (and unusual) East Coast-ish humid weather.

“I know it well. I’ve been pursuing my Master’s at a school in Connecticut.”

“Oh? Which school?”



Anyway, I try to put a positive spin on the fact that she obviously seems annoyed at getting beeped so much, and the consequent lack of sleep.

“Well, I suspect that all your clients want is someone to sit there and listen. Ought to be somewhat low maintenance. Yes?”

“Yes! That’s true,” Hannah beams back, again surprised by my insight.

And Hannah continues,

“You know, our jobs are somewhat alike. I have read about how people feel very open in taxis, talking about their feelings and such. It’s the small, enclosed space, they said.”

As my coffee has now kicked-in (and Hannah has had none) I clumsily cut her off, interjecting,

“Yes!! Finding yourself trapped in a speeding two-ton metal box with someone you’ll likely never see again (well, usually never) coupled with a low need to impress the “blue collar” cabbie, it really IS the perfect storm for people to open up… AND THEY DO!”

Hannah expounds, “And the lack of eye contact. VERY important.”

Again, Driver interjects, “True… And I DO have a good excuse for not making eye contact.”

Both laugh.

I go on to explain the Paratransit system in San Francisco, and how I very much appreciate that there is a social service aspect to my job. And that I, too, am glad to be helping out people in need. I mean, what otherwise is the value of one’s life?

Hannah is genuinely exuberant to hear that the city has a subsidized transportation program for the old and infirm. And she then glows-on some more at the, um, revelation:)

Good saint.

Hesitantly, I get off-topic, adding that one selfish perk for me is that if I fuck up a ride, my boss will cease to exist sometime in the next five to fifteen minutes, and I can just brush it off. (However, I assume that this is not the case with Hannah.)

But Hannah gushes, and DOES relate! Though, she states that when she fucks up (well, that’s not exactly how she phrased it) she just leaves the room and lets the doctors take over.

I do not pursue what constitutes a “fuck up” in her department.


We arrive at CPMC – Davies, at the edge of the Castro. And Hannah starts fumbling through her purse for payment. She eventually hands me up a voucher for Citizen’s Cab.


This catches me by surprise. (Aside from the fact that she did not sign the voucher before handing it up.)

Surprise, because I usually only see these from Kink.com, when driving talent to the airport.

I start to laugh, internally, and just start to relay the irony. But then I stop, catching myself…

Ah, what the hell!

“Wow! You surprised me! I usual only get vouchers from Kink.com. You know, the world renowned bondage porn site?”


Nervously, Driver expounds.

“I guess Citizen’s vouchers are all about bondage porn, and chaplains.”

And with this, Hannah busts out all giddy.

“Oh!! That’s fantastic!! HA, HA, HA! I am SO glad to know that!! I am going to just HAVE to tell my friends!”

I hand back the voucher for Father Hannah to sign, and she writes in a two buck tip on top of the $9.55 fare. Then, she exits my cab in her bland-colored flats, and scurries off to the service of the Lord.

May God be with you, Hannah.



Photo by Alex SacK


Check out Alex’s Book 1 – San Francisco TAXI: A 1st Week in the ZEN Life…
& Book 2 San Francisco TAXI: Life in the Merge Lane…

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Alex Sack

Alex Sack, born 1970, is a taxi driver who grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs of Maryland. He attended several different colleges and universities around the D.C./Baltimore region as a music major for 4 & 1/2 years before quitting - pre-diploma - to the horror of his father. He tried his hand as a professional musician/songwriter seeing him through travels domiciled in New York City’s East Village, Los Angeles (where he scored a few songs on The Disney Channel's 'Even Stevens') and San Francisco - where he's ultimately put down roots. Alex is a single dad to two boys, currently ages 15 and 17. His post-natal fallback occupation as Operations Assistant at a start-up clean-tech engineering consultancy came to a sudden end with the one-two punch of the owner’s fatal skiing accident in Tahoe and the subsequent downturn in the economy.This - and an acquired nervous twitch to cubicle work - has led to his latest job...

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