There are a few things in life you can count on.

Like your first-grader's soccer team losing more games than it wins. Your physician's bill being more than you expected - and much more than you budgeted. And taxicab tales from every tourist who visits New York City.Everett Dahl is no exception.

The Midvale mayor, who has local political clout, recently lost his credit in Manhattan - thanks in part to a cab driver.

Representing the Economic Development Corp., Dahl traveled to the Big Apple to sell Utah at an electronics convention.

"The mission was successful, but the trip was a disaster," he said.

Well aware of the city's crime record, Dahl traveled light - carrying only his military ID, an AT&T calling card, two credit cards, $60 in traveler's checks and another few dollars in cash.

"Instead of carrying money in my hip pocket like I have done all around the world, I put it in a breast wallet," he said. "People said it would be safer."

So much for hometown advice.

The trip went smoothly until a bus, shuttling dignitaries from the Marriott Marquis to the Jacob Javits Convention Center, failed to show.

So Dahl hailed a cab.

Hoping to haul tourists to Kennedy or LaGuardia airports, the driver wasn't exactly pleased when Dahl announced his designation - only 11 blocks away.

"That will cost you $5," the angry driver told Dahl. The mayor, late to man his booth at the convention, relented and pulled out his wallet to pay.

Good-bye, security.

Later that night Dahl noticed his wallet was missing. Fearful his credit cards were on the loose in New York, he canceled them and reported his traveler's checks missing.

Dahl was penniless in Manhattan, where a cup of coffee and doughnut cost $3 to $5. What's a man - or a mayor - to do?

Dahl soon found out.

After charging dinner to his room that night, the mayor was cornered in the dining room by hotel waiters wanting cash. He had canceled his Discover Card, on which his hotel bill was charged.

Later, when a flashing red light prevented him using an electronic key to enter his room on the 37th floor, Dahl envisioned being among the city's hundreds of homeless. "Now I am evicted, and all my luggage is in the room. By this time I am getting irritated."

But don't lose faith in humanity - even New Yorkers - just yet.

After confirming that Dahl was really Dahl, Discover gave the hotel a new credit card number by phone. And the hotel accepted it. Just as promised in its ads, American Express replaced the lost traveler's checks.

And, yes, folks, the taxicab driver returned Dahl's wallet - contents intact.

Restores your faith in the human race, doesn't it?

Not exactly, Dahl said.

"It's a hell of a feeling being in New York City for four days without credit and a limited amount of cash," he said. "It's not exactly a friendly place. But at least I didn't get bumped off."

The moral of the story?

"If you wear a breast wallet, wrap it with rubber bands so it doesn't fall out."

A traveler's tip for your next trip East.