The Cab Quest


By: Connor Lenahan

One of my biggest fears in life – other than bees, heights, and commitment – is losing something important. I am borderline obsessive compulsive about patting my pockets to make sure my iPod, phone, and wallet are all in the right spots roughly every 85 seconds. Hell I freaked out about losing my wheelchair two years ago, something that becomes even weirder in hindsight that it ever happened.

Today I needed to confront that fear head on, although I was luckily the second-hand recipient of panic. While running some errands today my girlfriend Laura LaBrecque and I took a cab from the CambridgeSide Galleria to downtown Boston. It was an easy ride, but we needed to keep track of my chair, my backpack, a shopping bag, and Laura’s purse. Once we arrived downtown we walked over towards Primark only to find that, of all things, Laura’s purse was left behind in the cab.


This is an especially frightening situation for anyone, but Laura had her wallet, student ID, drivers license, room keys, and more in her purse. Everything she would need to live was all within the purse. She, rightfully, panicked. I was rattled, but needed to go Columbo to try and find this cab.

It had left our stop and neither of us caught a cab number from the side. We didn’t even catch the explicit cab company, although I thought I had a hunch – Cambridge Checker Cab. After all, yellow taxis in Boston aren’t that common, while white cabs are everywhere. I called the company and gave a quick description of our driver and cab to the dispatcher.

Now, this all would have been much easier if I paid by credit card, but I gave the man cash. There wasn’t really much of a way to track things electronically. Laura had been a mess trying to figure out whether or not to cancel her credit cards or not. We elected to roll the dice and go to the cab dispatcher headquarters back in Cambridge.

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I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a cab dispatch center before – lord knows I hadn’t been – it’s akin to a murder location in a horror film. There was nothing on the street, a dark garage, and a single person office buried behind a mysteriously open door. Extremely odd, and a little terrifying. But the woman inside was the one that had spoken to me when we called to alert them of the lost purse. I happened to alert her of my wheelchair (how many patrons have wheelchairs and walk?) and the physical appearance/outfit of our driver. She had an inclination and we walked down the street to look at some idling cabs.

She called almost immediately.

Cab 243 was back at the CambridgeSide Galleria a few blocks away.

We didn’t sprint, but we power walked with a purpose with a hope that we would catch the driver in the taxi queue before someone else. As we approached we caught our driver’s eye and he waved us over. Out came the purse and all was right with the world yet again.

There’s no way this was anything other than absurd luck. We had no business finding that purse, let alone finding it within an hour. That was the most amazing part – we tracked that guy down absurdly quickly. Laura was still panicked even in wake of the returned purse, but more that something as crazy as this happened.

Take it from us: If you lose something in a cab, just pay attention to the cab company, any cab numbers, and give a call quickly. Also, don’t leave things in cab – not a lot of fun.