Thursday, April 1, 2010

* * Win-Win-Win * *


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21 – Palace Hotel to Moscone Center -- $4.00

TODAY IS DEFINITELY A DIFFERENT SORT OF DAY. And it’s not just the odd, low sky, stretched tight overhead like a big beige sheet, without a wrinkle or a seam showing anywhere. Two nights ago, while I was on my way back from an all-day hike at Point Reyes, my cell phone rang with a call from my old cab driver friend Dennis Korkos who said he’d just seen me on TV during the Giants game, on a Toyota commercial about which I had completely forgotten during the past couple of weeks, and in whose reality I never had any faith, anyway. By the time I reached home there were already a couple of emails in my inbox, commenting on the ad. And now, some 36 hours after the ad started running, well, I think I’m either having, or am about to have, 15 minutes of fame. Maybe a whole half-hour. I haven’t seen the ad yet -- we don’t have cable at home, and I rarely watch TV -- but this morning my neighbor Mae told me that she saw the ad three times last night. This morning I received e-mails or phone calls from several friends who said they were astounded to see me suddenly appear in their living rooms during broadcasts of the Giants game, the A’s game, the Denver Nuggets game, the History Channel, Jeopardy, the 10 o’clock news… At the end of a ride to Oakland this morning, as I was climbing back into my cab, I heard a voice above and behind me bark, “Hey!” When I turned around, a dump truck driver called down to me, “It was you -- I was watching the Channel 5 news this morning -- Green Cab, Toyota Prius, Brad -- right? -- and now there you are, right in front of me! What’re the odds of that?” When I dropped a fare at the Fairmont Hotel this morning, the doorman greeted me, “Movie star!” The doorman at the Mark Hopkins said, I think, “Rock star!” (I’ve never spoken to either of them before, as far as I recall.) Shazam! I may have to hang on tight for this ride…

THE DOORMAN at the Palace Hotel has no special greeting, but he does have a fare for me. “She’s going to Moscone North,” he tells me.

She's a tall, pretty, young business-person with long, straight brown hair and a stressed look on her face. “How are you today?” I ask her.

She sighs. “I’m fine."

Me: “You sound…unconvinced.”

She laughs. “I don’t really like to travel for business... I’m from Nashville, and I would love your city if I were here on my own, but this is work… I’m in marketing… We have the capability to get a coupon loaded right onto your debit card... If your bank and the merchant are part of our program, you automatically get a discount...”

Me: “So, it’s a selling point for… the bank?”

She: “For the bank, for the merchant, and for the consumer. We say it’s a win-win-win. If the consumer doesn’t benefit, well, really, there’s no point.”

The timing is perfect -- we've already reached the end of her three-block ride, and now I mention the special consumer benefit that I deliver once a day. Although she seems delighted, she tussles with me a bit, but in the end we both win. As I set her wheeled suitcase on the sidewalk in front of Moscone North, she smiles broadly at me and says, “You’ve put a little sunshine in my San Francisco trip.”



  1. Love it, Brad! I watch so little TV I'll probably never see it, but I'll get in front of a Giants game this weekend and look for you.

  2. I loved seeing you on TV! Such fun1