How much longer can I continue to justify riding in a taxi over an Uber or Lyft? When I traveled a lot for business, there was always a taxi cab waiting at the airport, hotel, convention center, or every other place I needed a ride to get around. Even on vacations it was fun and easy to hail a taxi to get to my destination.

Then came the smartphone and Uber. Like a video game, Uber makes you tap the app on your phone to view all the cars riding around hoping to pick you up. In return, the lucky car for hire rewards you by sending a photo of the driver’s face and their car, their license plate number, and their estimated time of arrival to your phone. The driver may even call you on your phone to let you know he’s arrived if you two can’t find each other right away. It all seem so cool. So, why am I so slow to join the Uber party?

I’ve tried several weak attempts to justify my love for taxi’s. My number one go-to is convincing myself I prefer to ride with a professional driver, not some guy getting off his couch at halftime of the football game to make a few dollars to pay for the bucket of wings he just ate. But, when I consider a taxi driver has the same driver’s license as an Uber driver, there’s nothing professional I’m gaining with a cab ride.

Then I try to believe I’m more comfortable in a car made to transport people than someone’s personal vehicle the driver just used to take his wife grocery shopping after dropping the kid at his classmate’s slumber party. But, who’s to say the last couple passengers in the taxi didn’t go to the grocery store or to a slumber party? 

In reality, my Make-a-Wish moment would be to get in a taxi and the interior lights start flashing and music starts blaring letting me know I‘m making my TV debut as a passenger on ‘Cash Cab’ where I get all the right answers while walking away with a couple thousand dollars. 

I’m just an old nostalgic dude who prefers to call a cab. Sadly, taxis are hard to find in some situations and now days Ubers always seem to be driving around on my smartphone screen whenever I need them. 

Last week was one of those rare occasions I had the satisfaction of feeling like a taxi snob. I almost got suckered in the machine-learning cyber-generated email I always get when I make an airplane or train reservation using my Gmail account. Without fail, they sent me a 25% Use-it-or-Lose-it discount to my Gmail address right before they magically know when I’m going to arrive in the destination city. The button was right there on the email for me to get my discounted Uber. But I stayed strong and resisted. 

Once I got to street level, I saw a remarkably hilarious contradiction between where folks were connecting with their Uber drivers and where folks were catching taxis. 

The Uber section was complete chaos. There had to be a hundred people clustered on the sidewalk looking at their phones while peeking up to see if the grey Honda that just pulled up had Maryland, Virginia, or DC tags driven by an Indian looking guy with dark hair and scruffy beard wearing a Washington Wizards hoodie.

The scene looked like a mashup of demolition derby meets the Philly airport arrival lane when Delta arrives 45-minutes late from Atlanta. Folks were straight up losing their minds running back and forth, in and out of cars, while looking at their phones and dropping their luggage. 

Me, on the other hand, quietly joined the single file line of people (mostly older people), who politely stepped into a Red Top Taxi coming one-by-one in the opposite direction. With each person entering a taxi, I got one step closer to my cab. At about 20-feet away, I had a good idea which taxi would be mine and I could sort of make out the driver’s face through the windshield. I kept my phone in my pocket while chatting with a husband and wife arriving from New York standing in front of me holding hands.  

As expected, the taxi driver knew exactly how to get to my hotel and I was required to whip out a credit card upon arrival. He gave me a receipt, we said goodbye, and 3-days later I did it again with a taxi waiting outside the hotel who took me to the train station without me having to involve my smartphone at all. 

There’s something about the charm of a cab ride I just can’t seem to replicate when I’m in the back of a Honda Civic, no matter how many bottles of water or pieces of candy they provide for me in the cup holder. 

Hail to the taxi.