The San Francisco Taxi Commission is set to decide this evening whether one of the city's cabs is "associated with evil and Satan.''
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.
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.''
The devil gets to keep riding around in a San Francisco cab, the San Francisco taxi commission decreed on Tuesday.
After nearly half an hour of discussion and debate, the commission brought the weight of government to the question of whether to grant a request by a San Francisco cab driver seeking to retire Medallion No. 666 because of the number's association with Satan.
The debate was the best show to play City Hall in some time. It featured commissioners bickering good-naturedly with one another, the head of the cab drivers union arguing before the board with red horns on his head and several other cabbies pleading for common sense, a quality not always found in the stone building at Civic Center.
At issue was the request of veteran driver Michael Byrne, who said he has had bad luck and misfortune since being assigned the supposedly cursed number last year.
Commission President Paul Gillespie said he favored granting the request, "and hopefully we can do this quickly so we never have to deal with this again.''
But with the underworld, the Book of Revelation and the Mark of the Beast at stake, quickness was not to be. Six cabbies had something to say during public comment.
"How dare you take Lucifer's number away,'' said Thomas George-Williams, president of the cab drivers union, who was sporting the red horns. "This is a serious issue.''
A cabbie named Tom warned the commission that it was "opening a can of worms" and would soon be deluged with requests to retire other numbers. A cabbie named Barry pointed out that 666 was the address of SS Peter and Paul's Church on Filbert Street, an outfit not thought to be in Satan's pocket. A cabbie named Grasshopper said it was a "bad idea to get into mysticism and voodoo.''