I've lived in Chicago since 1995 and I got rid of my car two months after moving to Chicago which means two things - cab drivers are my biggest allies and my biggest enemies. In the past three months, I was almost hit by a cab two times. In the past 10 years, I've been kidnapped by one cab driver, took another cab driver to "cabbie court" for an offense (and won) and watched a third cab driver hit a girl while racing down a side street with heavy foot traffic.
Tonight was frigid, I was walking home from dinner at a local Chicago Steak House, bundled tightly in my shearling coat with a hat and my head down to avoid the wind. I was aware of my surroundings but not looking straight up. I was a quarter way through the intersection on Chestnut and State and before I knew it, my hand was SLAMMING down on the hood of a taxi cab and I was uttering the words "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU GOING?!? YOU JERK!" When I looked up, I looked straight into the eyes of an elderly Indian or Pakistani man through the windshield of his cab. Although the man had not stopped at the Stop Sign, the look on the man's face revealed that he had not seen me in the dark, snowy night.
I walked off and about ten yards down State Street, I realized my hand hurt from the impact of slamming on the car, It was only then I thought....how calloused living here has made me that after a near (not so) fatal accident I simply walk away without a second thought.
Earlier this year, I believe early fall, I was nearly hit by a different cab driver. I was getting off the bus at dusk. The bus let me off on east side of Inner Lake Shore Drive, I stepped off the bus and stood waiting for the light to change on Burton Street. The cars driving east on Burton, waiting to turn left onto Lake Shore Drive, must yield to pedestrians. Me, Leyla, I was the pedestrian.
There was a cab turning left onto Lake Shore Drive, the cab driver WAS NOT paying attention as he was on his cell phone. As soon as the light changed, I started to cross into the intersection and he simultaneously accelerated through the intersection right towards me. I looked up and saw a cab accelerating very quickly towards me. I froze, all I could do was scream "STOP" at the top of my lungs and put my arms out in front of me. The cab driver had to swerve to my left in order to not hit me and then drove off.
It was so close that high school kids on the opposite side of the street also screamed and the cars parked at the light heading south bound had their eyes closed. Literally, the woman in the passenger seat of the Mercedes had her hands covering her eyes. Yet again, I walked away unscathed and unaffected by the incident.
The kidnapping is another story. And a whole 'nother blog. Next time, Bulls Championship, Taxi Driver from the Ivory Coast and me. This one was scary.