The adventures keep coming in Chicago, and one of my most memorable is the taxi ride to my hotel.
While sitting in the backseat of the taxi cab, I used my Smartphone to answer emails from work. My concentration was interrupted by the all too familiar sound of a police siren. I look up to see a police car in hot pursuit of my speeding taxi driver. The policeman uses his car’s bullhorn to relay urgent instructions to my driver: “Pull over now; not to the right side, but to the left side of the highway; no, go to exit 131.” My flustered driver mumbled over and over to himself, clearly not relishing the conversation to come. I sat quietly in the back, hopeful that at some point I would arrive at my hotel–yes, I had some sympathy for the driver, but my main concern was reaching my destination after a long afternoon.
The policeman accosted my driver, asking him for his driver’s license. My driver instead produced a previous ticket as evidence that he is allowed to operate a moving vehicle in Illinois. The police officer, understandably confused, asked for his license again, and my driver said, “It’s at home.” Then the police officer asked about the ticket, and my driver answered, “No, it’s okay; I have four more days to pay it.” This conversation went back and forth until the police officer threatened to arrest my driver for traveling 20 miles over the speed limit, driving without his license, and failing to appear in court for a previous ticket. My driver repeated over and over that he had learned his lesson, and the police officer should show some mercy and just give him a warning instead of a ticket.
When the police officer threatened him with jail, I spoke up and asked, “What about me? Do I have to go to jail?” The police officer finally noticed me–yes, I can be a quiet, shrinking violet at times–and determined to let the cab driver, “Take care of [his] fare, then meet [him] at the police station on [such and such] a street.” My driver pleaded anew that he had learned his lesson and would travel the speed limit; all he needed was a warning. The officer, like Richard III, was not in the “giving vein today.” We finally reached our destination, and I wished my cab driver good luck on his way to the police station.
Now, I off to downstairs, to hail another taxi and attempt to reach the conference. I am hopeful for an uneventful ride.