Twelve winters ago, the temperature was well below zero when I met a homeless woman near Lincoln Center who wore only a sweater. I gave her my goose down coat, then ran as quickly as I could to hail a cab to take me home. As I stood in the snow with my arm held high, shivering in only a shirt and jeans, one available taxi after another passed me by.
"Hey!" I'd shout, perplexed and outraged that no one would stop. Finally, a cab cautiously pulled over and I jumped in.
"What the hell is going on?" I snapped at the driver, "I'm freezing to death out here, why would no one stop for me?"
The driver turned his head and looked me up and down.
"No offense," he said, "but standing on the corner of 66th Street in below zero weather with no coat on, a cabbie wouldn't want to pick you up because you look insane."