I was lucky enough to ride in this! (Photo courtesy of NBC Chicago)
I was hailing a cab the other day and the first one that approached me was a van. First thought: “Score! I love roomy van cabs!” Then, as it pulled up next to me, I noticed it was a bright shade of bubblegum pink. It didn’t take me long to make the connection between the color and breast cancer awareness. It is October, after all.
When I got into the cab, I was again surprised to see the driver was a woman. After about four years of taking cabs in the city, I think I’ve ridden in a female’s taxi maybe once.
I said, “Cute cab!” She was initially a little cold, maybe because she thought I was insincere? She just stared ahead looking like she was thinking, “Ok Blondie, shut up now.” But the more I smiled at her through the rear view mirror and asked genuinely inquisitive questions, the more she warmed to talking. And once she started, she was hilariously entertaining!
She told me she is 6′, which is why she chose to drive a van cab over the normal sedans, or even the boxy Scion with its low ceilings. And when they tried to sell her on the Smart Car, forget it. The makers of the Smart Car claim the cars can comfortably seat two men over 6′, but this cabbie wasn’t buyin’ it.
“When I tried out the Smart Car or even the Scion, I bumped my head,” the female cab driver said. “It was like sitting in a clown car!”
“I feel ya,” I said. “I’m 6’3″”
We instantly bonded and had a good laugh talking about the “joys” of being a tall woman trying to fit in spaces “normal-sized” women can easily maneuver.
While I was excited to meet a fellow tall woman (I’m always thrilled to bond with the vertically blessed), I was more excited to learn more about her eccentric pink cab. She resolved my suspicions of the cab raising awareness for breast cancer awareness month, which occurs every October. And I learned that I had actually stepped into the ONLY pink cab in Chicago (at the time)! I felt so lucky! Like it was fate that she drove by.
The kind cabbie explained that her cab was originally yellow but that she allowed her company, Yellow Cab, to paint it pink — the same exact pink they use to paint Mary Kay vehicles. She said some passengers who had hailed her cab mistakenly thought she was a cosmetics saleswoman on the side.
The cab driver, who wanted to remain anonymous, said Yellow Cab is painting two — and only two — more cabs pink, and they’ll employ only women to drive the bubblegum mobiles. Some Checker cabs will have some parts of their design painted pink.
“The idea started in Chicago with Jeff Feldman, CEO of Taxi Medallion Management, which manages Yellow, Checker, Blue Diamond and American United here,” a recent Chicago Sun-Times story said. “TMM has put pink decals on cabs for years during October, but this year, Feldman proposed pink cabs to the national Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association. About 100 cab operators across North America will participate.”
And these cabs aren’t just raising awareness. The Sun-Times story said for every ride the pink cab makes, one dollar will be donated to the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation of Chicago, which supports understanding, research and treatment of breast cancer. So it turns out I donated to the cause without even knowing it, just by taking a little ride! How cool is that?
My cabbie said once October is over, she’ll be happy to paint her cab back to that beautiful shade of sunshine.
“It looks like a frosty pink bite!,” she said through her Jamaican accent. “But it’s for a good cause.”
I couldn’t agree with her more.