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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, February 29

Gapers Block

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Andrew Huff / September 9, 2009 12:46 AM

We had a similar question back in 2004, fyi.

R / September 9, 2009 1:13 AM

I once had a cabbie driving me home westbound on Belmont get angry at the slow traffic, get into the EASTBOUND lane and pass the car in front. It was late on a Friday night, I screamed in terror, and the cabbie seemed surprised by my reaction, as if what he had done was impressive and not completely dangerous and foolish.

When we got to Lincoln at a red light, I saw there was $5 on the meter. I threw the money at him (no tip, jackwad) and got out. If I hadn't been so shaken I would have gotten his cab # to report it.

Best cab ride? Ray St. Ray.

mary / September 9, 2009 8:33 AM

i was hoping someone else would say "ray st. ray"!! that was my favorite cab ride! i have his postcard hung up on my cubicle.

my only other weird taxi experience was on new years 2 years ago when we had that really bad snowstorm and i ended up sharing a cab with someone who ended up insulting me until he got out at his stop. what a douche.

Dan / September 9, 2009 9:33 AM

In Egypt I was literally sold by one cab driver to another. The first cabbie appeared to be taking me to my destination. But then he veered off the road to a cafe where all of the cab drivers hang out. He made an announcement to his fellow cab drivers. Not speaking Arabic, I didn't understand him, but apparently he was saying 'I'll let you take this shmuck for x amount of money.' When I was ushered into the second cab. When I saw the money being handed over I finally realized that I'd been sold.

David / September 9, 2009 11:42 AM

I took a cab from downtown to O'Hare recently, and the fare was reasonable and the driver was nice.

Crazy, right?

Guy Smiley / September 9, 2009 11:44 AM

1. Got into a cab in Old Town and was immediately hit by a strange (read: not good) odor. Shortly afterward was informed by the driver that he had invented his own cologne.

2. Was "hijacked" by an apparently Indian woman cab drive late one night who just wanted me to stay in the cab and talk for a while. She was fully prepared to just drive around with me in the back until I told her I REALLY had to get home.

3. There used to be one Indian cab drive who, no matter how much time has passed between the lst time I was in his cab (years in some cases), remembered where I worked, where I used to work, etc. after I told him once. ("So, do you still work at the...?" "Wha? That was like five years ago...")

JAH / September 9, 2009 1:13 PM

Once, coming home from an awful date (another story entirely), I was in a cab during a huge downpour. We were driving down Lawrence, coming up on Ravenswood, and I could see that the dip where the street goes under the Metra tracks was completely filled with water and there appeared to be another car already stuck in it. The cabbie saw this, and floored it. I was in the back seat going “don’t try to cross it! we can go around! we can go around!” But he kept going, hit the water and hydroplaned about a third of the way across. Then we slowed to a stop, the engine died, and water started pouring in around the bottom of the doors. The cabbie just kept turning the key in the ignition, and every once in a while he’d take it out, look at it, then put it back in and try again. By this point I was sitting with my feet on the seat telling the dude “it’s not gonna work man, you need to call someone and get a tow or something.” He just ignored me. Finally, I gave him a $20 (there was about $8 on the meter), crawled out the window, waded to the other side and walked the rest of the way home.

thumper / September 9, 2009 2:21 PM

I once had a cab driver try to come home with me. When I said no, he suggested that we go to his place instead. I got out a few blocks early and walked, making sure he wasn't following me.

annie / September 9, 2009 6:45 PM

I've also been in the Ray St. Ray cab and the disco cab, but I don't think either of them are illegal. I recently took a rickshaw, which according to the biker are illegal b/c there isn't a license for them. Probably only a matter of time before the city shuts them down...they shut all the fun stuff down.

cat / September 9, 2009 10:00 PM

Once I was in a cab in New York and the cabbie took a phone call from his son on speakerphone. The son had just gotten home from being arrested, and told his dad the whole story. (Nothing dangerous, just dumb) After the guy hung up he told me the whole story. I couldn't decide which was weirder -- that he was sharing the story of his son's strange choices with a stranger, or that he apparently didn't realize that everyone in the car could hear the speakerphone.

V / September 10, 2009 10:35 AM

Mark Supelsa, or somebody, on WGN did a crazy story a few months ago. He took an air horn out onto the street and blared its honk at passing cabs. When They stopped he asked how they liked being honked at on the street. I imagine he told thema bunch of other things that amounted to "quit honking at pedestrians". I'm glad he did it too. I've gotten injured by them shmucks.

Carrie / September 10, 2009 12:26 PM

I’ve had the singing cabbie 3 times… and I swear, I request a new song each time, but I ALWAYS get the same song. The last time I had him, I was with someone who hadn’t had him before. We were running a little late and when I realized that it was the same song I’d already heard, I took out my phone to text the rest of the group that we were on our way. Cabbie saw that, didn’t like it and yelled at me. I can understand him being displeased, but a) I wasn’t talking to anyone or talking over his song and b) no need to yell. My text was done in like 15 seconds.

I’ve also had a cabbie preach to me about abstinence and when I tried to express my views, he kicked me out (it’s kind of OK b/c we were already on my block, right by my place)

And finally, probably the best cabbie—years ago I may have had too much to drink. Some random people hailed a cab for me, I crawled in and immediately thought I was going to be sick. The cabbie calmed me down so I wouldn’t get sick and took me home. I woke up the next morning with as much money as I’d left the bar with… so he didn’t charge me. It wasn’t an expensive cab ride, maybe $6, but the fact that he took me home for free, seeing the condition I was in, makes me really happy and thankful that there are good people out there.

Illegal cab though? no... I don't think so.

zoenotcool / September 10, 2009 12:28 PM

Once upon a time, I rode in an unmarked cab late at night in Rome, from the train station to my hotel. This was my first time in Rome (and Italy), and I was with 2 American guys. They were from my same college study abroad program, but not friends. I had run into them in Germany and we traveled together by train to Rome. Both were hungover and didn't have the best judgment. However, we all jumped in and had a scary, speeding tour of downtown Rome. I guess I followed them because the only thing worse than being in that situation was being in a cab alone. The driver seemed hostile and didn't talk to us at all.

We got to my hotel first, and I remember being left standing on the deserted, dark street alone with my bags, as the cab sped off to take the guys to their hotel. I was dumbfounded that neither of them bothered to see if I could even get in/find the hotel (it was on an upper floor) or that I was at the right place.

zoenotcool / September 10, 2009 12:31 PM

I once had a cabbie ask if we could stop at a Lincoln Square European cafe to buy fruit tarts. I was in a hurry, but agreed for some reason. He bought me one, too, in a little white box, and it was delicious! He kept saying how great it was for his diabetes. He predicted that I would never meet another cabbie who would buy me a fruit tart, and he has been right so far.

Another time, I was traveling from downtown to Ravenswood in a cab after midnight on a weeknight, and the African-American cabbie accused me of being racist, since I didn't want to go west on Lawrence from LSD.

Guy Smiley / September 10, 2009 1:09 PM

Oh, and I HAVE ridden in an illegal cab once, a "jitney" cab a friend called when were going out one night. Just a regular car but we sat in the back. Not sure why she called this guy instead of a regular cab since it was about the same price.

Meems / September 10, 2009 4:40 PM

Annie, I rode in a rickshaw the other day, I was in a bad mood and we ended up just riding along the lake for awhile. He didn't charge me.
Not too long ago I asked a cabbie if he could take a card. He said yes but then the machine didn't work. He didn't call it in, or make me hit an ATM, he just let me go!

Cheryl / September 15, 2009 11:39 AM

Got in a cab one time, the driver was eating soup out of a bowl that he was holding. He was using a spoon. I have no clue what he was using to steer. Then he started talking about how the American Nazi Party were much better people than the German NP--the ANP didn't want to kill the Jews, they just wanted them to leave this country. I waited for the cab to stop at a red light and I bailed on the guy.

Jane / October 14, 2009 4:29 PM

Not crazy but life-changing....met a cab driver 6 yrs ago who is Tunisian. He bacame the love of my life. He is crazy as are all N. Africans, but the relationship turned out so educational.
He't got some cab driver stores that would blow your sox off.....

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