What's going on? Is there a hedge-fund convention this weekend?
"It's parents weekend."
"The summer camps. All the rich mummies and daddies have flown in to check on Billy--to make sure he's not lonely or homesick."
You gotta be kidding. I thought the reason you sent kids to camp was because you didn't want to see them.
A couple days later, at work, I get a job. Go to this office complex. A Mister Gorman needs a ride to Logan. He has a plane to catch to Nantucket and he's in a big hurry.
Gorman was heavy set. Expensive suit, with a flimsy set of wire-rimmed glasses and a couple suitcases.
It's rush hour. Storrow Drive is backed up to Mass. Ave. "Are we going to get there on time?" he asks, or rather, demands.
Sure. We'll go the back way, I tell him, through Haymarket. He seems pleased, as if he thought of it himself. Then he goes back to his Blackberry.
We get to the airport. Plenty of time. The fare is about $30. He hands me a credit card. I ask him if he wants to include a tip.
"Sure. Add fifteen."
I help get his bags out of the trunk and hand him the receipt.
What's the problem?
"Thought you'd drive off before I noticed, huh?"
You said fifteen. That's what I plugged in.
"I meant fifteen percent. How many of your fares give you fifty percent tips? You take me for some kind of asshole?"
You get all kinds in this business, I tell him. If you meant fifteen percent instead of fifteen dollars, you should have said so. Here's ten dollars back, good-bye.
"Hey wait," he shouts. "What's your name? I'm gonna tell your boss."
Good. Tell him. I'm sure he'll get a laugh out of it.
A bit later, I'm turning a corner. There's an old man with a cane, disheveled, teetering to maintain his balance near the curb with his arm outstretched. I stop.
"I'm not going far," he says apologetically, gently lowering himself onto the seat.
That's not a problem, I tell him.
Once in, he thanks me. He gives me an address in Cambridge. Like he said, not far.
The fare when we arrive is about $8. He thanks me again, and hands over a wad of bills. I count it out: Two five dollar bills and three ones. Thirteen dollars. A 60 percent tip.
Excuse me, sir. Are you sure you want to give me this?
"What did I give you?" he asks. I hand back the bills.
"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry." He rummages through his wallet, then hands back the wad. I count it out again. A ten dollar bill, a five, and two ones. Seventeen dollars. 110 percent tip.
Are you sure?
No, no. You were so nice to stop for me. Keep it.
I thank him, wait for him to make it safely to the curb, then pull away.
Like I told Gorman, you see all kinds.