When our relative from out of town just had to ride a cable car before his departure from our superior city, we decided to indulge him and follow some tracks until we caught up a with cable car that he would hop on for a few blocks. Within minutes, said relative was aboard a cable car traveling down Washington Street. We were trailing behind in the car (nothing like some good old-fashion fun). To our surprise (again, not really), the brakeman refused our relative's cash and let him ride for free. At the end of the three-block ride, out of his naive out-of-town ways the kindness of his heart, our relative handed the brakeman two dollars. The brakeman gratefully accepted the cash, and that was that. (The underground cable then stopped moving and we were stuck in the middle of the narrow street for a good ten minutes before traffic was able to back out. But that's neither here nor there. At least we were pleasantly reminded of the scrummy lattes we used to pick up daily from Gallery Cafe.)

So, really? Tipping on cable cars? We figure this must be illegal, or at least frowned upon. We of course realize that cable car operators put up with scads of annoying tourists every single day, and for that alone they should be rewarded. But should they be compensated with tips? How about a nice trophy or award or something?