Driver Stories

Designated Driving

Fireworks copy writes 7/29/10

Sunday July 4, 2010

It was the Fourth of July weekend Sunday evening around 9:15 PM, I was driving eastbound on I 88, driving to O’Hare airport for a ten o’clock arrival. As I proceeded eastbound, I noticed something I have never seen before in over 30 years of driving for a living. As I was driving I could see the fireworks displays over six cities, to my right and south I saw the cities of Lisle, Downers Grove, and Westmont.

To the left and North I could see Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, and either Lombard or Villa Park I wasn’t sure as I continued eastward I could see Oak Brook to my left and what I assumed was Hinsdale to the right. , it struck me as being one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

To me I think I understood just a little of what Francis Scott Key experienced when he got the idea for what was to be our national anthem. The bombs were truly bursting in air all around me as I drove into Oak Brook it looked as if they were shooting the fireworks off right over the mall cars were stopped on the shoulders of the highway and the ramps above watching the show.

It seemed as if the fireworks were exploding over me there were colors of red, white, blue. All the colors of the rainbow exploding in reflective light off the buildings of glass and steel intensifying the effect-I cannot see why we as people just for one moment could forget about the politics of the day, the disasters around us and realize how incredibly lucky we are to live in this great country.

I have a habit of every time I see a young man or woman in uniform of walking up to them and saying thank you because of them we still have the freedom that we enjoy today. So next time you see somebody in uniform try to do the same you will be surprised at the look of joy on their faces when they realize that what they do really is not taken for granted.

As I got near the O’Hare exit to my left I saw what had to be the finale of one of the fireworks shows I think maybe it was Bensenville as the explosions of color burst into the sky one after another faster and faster till it was done. The only better view I could think of was the passengers landing at O’Hare, it must have been spectacular In the passing thought why don’t we all just try to get along and solve our problems together, although I don’t see that happening anytime soon at least it’s wishful thinking, but all in all we was really look up and thank God that we live in the country that we do.

Day in a cabbies life

Most of the time driving a cab for a living is uneventful; do not get me wrong you meet interesting people. However, sometimes things can go very differently; Today was going to prove that true. I was sitting at the downtown train when a scruffy looking man asked how much to the Mall. I responded about fifteen dollars so he climbed in the car and we pulled away. He was about five ten graying hair and dirty hands, also he had a bag with him that clanked like the sound of tools.

I never try to judge anyone otherwise; I would never have let him in my cab at all. As we started out, he changed his destination, so I contacted the dispatcher and let him know we were on the way, and where I would clear. On the way, the dispatcher contacted me on the radio and asked if I had an address where we would clear. Trying to get more info from him was difficult as he was mumbling and acting strange.

Then the text came in “Amtrak employee said that man has a gun be careful” My whole day just changed. As the adrenaline in your body starts to flow your hands start shaking, it is a natural reaction. However, I could not let him know that so breathing deeply and gripping the wheel I called the dispatcher and asked him if he had a ride for me at the intersection, I had mentioned. He said yes he did but he was on the phone he would get back to me. I could only assume he was talking to the police. He responded back yes that the police had a ride for me at the intersection as soon as I cleared this load. I told him that I would be there soon so to let them know.

As I approached the intersection in question I saw several police cars pull in behind. The closest one to me lit up her lights and I pulled to stop. I looked at the customer and said “ looks like I am getting a ticket “ as I stepped out I saw at least 5 police cars guns drawn pointed at me what I was looking down the wrong end of more weapons than I was comfortable with. The lead officer said to me tell your passenger to get out of the car, I leaned in and said “I think they want to talk to you” then I walked away from the car. The subject then exited the car with his tool bag as I sought shelter with another officer. Who after a quick frisk down had me crouch behind him using his body as coverage from the possible line of fire? We both tried to get skinny behind a tree with a two and half-inch trunk, quite a site.

Then things became a blur both fast and slow at the same time. Police yelling at the subject get down get down, the man replying what for, what did I do. Arguing with the police did not seem like a bright idea to me. More yelling and shouts the man reaches for the bag, big mistake a police officer flying out of the side of my vision doing an impersonation of Brian Urlacher. Though I do not think, Brian has to worry about return fire.

Then just like that it is over pulse slows down everything seems to return to normal, if you can call a felony stop normal. I think everyone should experience that at least once in his or her lives.

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