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Through a long story of poor planning and choices, I recently found myself trying to get home in the middle of the night in the suburbs without my vehicle and with a dead iPhone. In the beginning the idea was to just summon an Uber or Lyft to take me home. I realized my battery was getting really low (thanks old iPhone 6) and I didn’t quite know exactly where I was, so I quickly fired up Google Maps to at least orient myself. Then my phone completely died and I was on my own. I thought “ok, fine, I’ll just walk down the street to find a gas station and call a cab.” After a very long walk out of the neighborhood and down a street I recognized toward home, I looked for a gas station or at least familiar territory.¬†Boy was I wrong.

Nobody has pay phones nor yellow pages anymore. We all know this, but it sure would’ve been nice at the time. I found a station and their payphone was out so I asked the cashier to use their phone. I fumbled around with automated 411 saying “taxi”, “yellow taxi”, “checker taxi”, to try to find a taxi company. By now it was around 5 a.m.

I quickly realized not all of the taxi companies in the search results have 24/7 dispatch, as several calls went to voicemail. Of the two that did answer, one wouldn’t pick me up unless I was at the airport, and the other just didn’t care about picking me up that early. On top of this, I realized I had walked a terribly long ways in the wrong direction (I later figured out it was 4 miles), thinking I was going toward home but instead walking away from it. (Next time double check where Polaris is!)

Finally a very gracious random customer heard my taxi-calling plight and offered to summon an Uber ride on her own phone and dime to get me to BART. I had plenty of cash on me and offered to pay her for the trip, but surprisingly she declined and told me to just buy her coffee and help somebody else out in the future. Such an awesome thing!

It didn’t even occur to me until the ride home that I should’ve just bought a damn phone charger at one of the gas stations, hijacked an outlet somewhere to charge my phone for a bit, and get my own ride home.

Lesson learned, buy a phone charger instead of trying to call a cab, and the generosity of complete strangers does still exist.

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