Evil seems to befall cab 666 -- driver seeks intervention
Taxi commission to consider issuing a new medallion
Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The San Francisco Taxi Commission is set to decide this evening whether one of the city's cabs is "associated with evil and Satan.''
And its decision, according to the official agenda, has implications involving no less than Armageddon, St. John the Divine, Good Friday, the Book of Revelation and the Mark of the Beast.
At its regular meeting, the commission will consider a request from the distraught holder of taxi cab medallion No. 666 to have the number retired.
Driver Michael Byrne complained that the number is bad luck and persuaded assistant commission executive director Jordanna Thigpen to take up his cause with a two-page memo to the board.
"The problems ... are of great severity,'' Thigpen said in her memo. "The number 666 has been associated with evil and with Satan for hundreds of years. The number first appears in the Revelation of St. John the Divine. Revelation describes Armageddon and offers the number 666 as a method of recognizing the followers of 'the beast,' or evil.''
A few years ago, Thigpen said, the cab held by medallion holder 666 "burned to a crisp on Good Friday ... and the only thing remaining after the fire were the numbers 666, visible in the rubble.''
Byrne, a 30-year veteran driver, was assigned No. 666 only last August, Thigpen said, after another applicant refused to accept the number. Since then, sources said, Byrne has been involved in at least one accident -- even after taking the precaution of having the cab blessed at Mission Dolores.
"Do I believe in the Mark of the Beast myself?'' Thigpen said in an interview. "No. But there is a lot of negative energy around that cab. If we can help somebody out, why not do it? If something's a nuisance, it's our duty to get rid of it, right?''
A commission clerk, who asked not to be identified, said Byrne "had many deaths around him and his family'' and that getting rid of the cursed number "is an idea that speaks for itself.''
On the meeting agenda is a four-paragraph resolution explaining the problem and requesting that Medallion 666 be retired and that Medallion 1307 be issued as a replacement -- even though that number begins with the spooky digits "13."
Thomas George-Williams, chairman of the United Taxicab Workers union, said No. 666 has "quite a history" and that cabbies love to tell ghost stories about it between fares, but that the commission ought not to get involved in superstitions.
He said taxi drivers already must remember there is no 13th Avenue in San Francisco. The name of the thoroughfare between 12th and 14th avenues was long ago dubbed Funston Avenue, to keep Armageddon at bay.
"I think this is going to make the city look a little silly for taking it up,'' George-Williams said. "Where does it stop? I don't think the city needs to spend time getting involved in something like this.''
(Source: SF Chronicle)
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