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Pedicabs After Dark... Continued.

I feel people on the sidewalks getting excited as the cab rolls down the street, so I invite them on. Some folks hop right on, exclaiming how I’ve come at just the right moment, but some potential riders need convincing. They might give nonsense excuses about how they’re only going two blocks, and surely that’s too near or too far. Or the mothers, bless their hearts, say that they would feel terrible about making me work. Nothing but a show of machismo beats that fallacy, so I tell them I’m the strongest man in Columbia. They don’t really believe me but that’s fine because I believe myself and that’s the important thing, so they get in anyway.

I think the different reactions to the prospect of a ride come from differences in how people see the pedicab itself. Some people look at the cab and say “carriage,” while the others call it a “rickshaw.” A carriage brings noble people on fantastic adventures, and so it makes them kids again, but if my passengers think they’re riding a rickshaw, they can’t keep their minds off of the “poor guy up front,” and so they end up missing out on the experience while they worry over me. If they only realized I’m the happiest man on the cab! That’s why I make it a point to play my part and wear my glee on my sleeve. I dress up in my favorite city-riding clothes, get all cocky, and try to be a sort of cross between your crazy uncle who skydives and a tour-guide in a fun museum.

My riders tend to treat me as well as I treat them. I’ve made plenty of friends chatting up my fares. At football games, the tailgaters remember my name every week, and giving their kids a ride will always score me some potato-salad. People who ride with me downtown make me as much a part of their night as their favorite bartender. Some passengers really open up when faced with a fresh set of