It’s 4:30 a.m., and I am still prowling the streets of South Bay waiting for passengers. It’s been a slow night and I’m trying to meet my personal revenue goal. In a few hours it will be light again, just like it was when I started driving the day before at 4 p.m.

The Lyft app buzzes and I am quick to accept the ride on the app. It’s in one of the more come-as-you-are neighborhoods of L.A. so I am a little apprehensive. It would be easy for a criminal who has stolen a credit card to lure me in and then steal my car. But even the criminals aren’t up this early, I tell myself.

I stop at the address and I see a shadow walking towards me. It’s a young, Hispanic woman, barely 20. I unlock the doors and she hops into the backseat. She tells me she’s going to work at Target. She’s petite but will be unloading trucks for the next eight hours.

On the way over, we talk. We share how circumstances have placed us here in the shadow of LAX heading for a target store so early in the morning. The unemployed, desperate-for-work middle-aged guy and the very young single mom without a car. She tells me about her one-year-old before I drop her off. How her daughter had been so excited to see her that she wouldn’t go to sleep. But with a bath, mommy won.

Her story buzzes in my head as I head for home. I remember my earlier passengers: three drunken white girls about the same age as her. I drove them from the bars in Hermosa Beach back to a large home a short distance up the hill. They giggled and shrieked, happily recounting the evening’s fun. They stumbled from my car, sloppily closed the door and soon disappeared.

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