A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about taxi drivers

The Battle of the Taxi Drivers - Chicago

Meeting the new Big Jim Walker in Chicago

View The Bad Bad Leroy Brown Trip - Chicago June 2018 on littlesam1's travel map.


You don't tug on Super Man's cape.

You don't spit into the wind

You don't mess around with that old Lone Ranger

And you don't mess around with Jim.

When I travel music is always a part of my experience. I either hear a new song that stays in my memory with the trip or I have an old song in my head when I arrive and that becomes my personal sound track. I first started to notice my habit of creating a sound track for a vacation when I took my first trip to Europe in 1999. I went to France and was very excited about finally seeing Paris and Marseille. While there every single day I heard the song Sex Bomb by Tom Jones. It was playing on radios in taxi's. It was playing in hotel lobbies. It was playing in restaurants. There was no escaping the song. To this day when I look at my photos from that vacation I think of that song. I bought a copy of a CD with the song on it during our layover in London on that trip.

Of course in Thailand I had the song One Night In Bangkok in my background sound track when I was in Bangkok. When we moved on the Phuket I had the James Bond them from Man With The Golden Gun in my head because that is where part of the movie was filmed. I had a slight problem when I traveled to Bratislava and Vienna with music. I had Gladys Knight in my head singing License To Kill from the James Bond film everyday. When I returned home and watched the movie I realized I had the wrong Timothy Dalton Bond movie in mind. The one set in Vienna and Bratislava was The Living Daylights. But it was for the best. The theme by A-Ha is a lame theme and License To Kill fit the holiday much better anyway. While my daughter Katie and I were in Nashville last November the song was Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes by George Jones. There was so much country music history in the city it just seemed appropriate.

In the early 1970's to me Jim Croce was "the man." I loved his music. From his sad love songs to his humorous story songs they all resonated with me. When he died I felt as if I had lost friend. But thanks to old vinyl, CD's and Alexa his music is still with me. So when I visited Chicago in June 2018 I had his Bad Bad Leroy Brown song playing in my head for most of the trip. However at the conclusion of the three day trip the sound track changed a little. I did meet a man that I had best beware of just like Leroy Brown. But he was taught a lesson just like Big Jim Walker from You Don't Mess Around With Jim.

We stayed at the beautiful Swissotel on Wacker Drive in Chicago. It was a luxury hotel in a beautiful high rise. We usually don't stay at over the top luxury hotels but this was a business trip for Mark and his convention was centered at the hotel. We were on the 37th floor with a beautiful view of the Chicago River below us.


The Swissotel in Chicago


View from the 37th floor of the Swissotel

There was a doorman at the front of the hotel and a line of taxi's parked in front of the hotel. When you need a taxi the doorman signals the first taxi in line to drive up and pick you up. It's very convenient and easy for both the customer and the taxi driver. First taxi in line gets the next passenger. As we were preparing to go to the airport for our journey home we had thought about using Uber but decided to use the taxi's in front of the hotel for the convenience. However when we walked out with out luggage there had been a minor car accident in the parking area and the doorman was dealing with the minor fender bender. As we stood there looking around a taxi driver walked up to us and said to us "I am the next in line. Let me help you with your luggage. We followed him closely as we were not sure if he really was a legitimate taxi driver or not. We kept one hand on our luggage. We get to the curb and he picks up our luggage and puts it into his trunk. Before he can close the hood of the trunk two other taxi drivers rush towards us yelling "Don't go with him. Not honest. Not honest. Don't trust him." I immediately asked what was wrong. He said nothing was wrong and to ignore the other two men. Then one of the men grabbed our luggage out of trunk and started to walk towards their taxi. He in turn grabbed it back and threw it into his trunk again. We were getting a little concerned by this point. The other two taxi drivers told us he had not waited in line but saw us coming out with our luggage and moved in front of the taxi's that were already in line. And they kept yelling "Don't trust him." By this point I did not trust him. So I went to take my luggage out of his trunk. He told me "NO. You are my customer. I am taking you to the airport." I said politely as possible that I chose to go with the taxi driver in the front of the line. When he blocked me a second time from taking my luggage out of the trunk the two other taxi drives stepped forward and took it out for me. Now here is where Big Jim Walker from the Jim Croce song comes into play. He thought he was big Jim. And he was a big man. He shoved the other taxi drive into the street. When he did this the second taxi driver raised his fist and they both started yelling at each other. But Big Jim was about to learn a lesson. The three taxi drivers in line all worked together. One took my luggage to their taxi. The other two held the first taxi driver back from bothering us. As we drove away our driver yelled out of his window "If you are still here when I get back I will f*ck you up!" So just like Big Jim Walker in the song this man was taught a lesson. And it gave us a great travel story to share. I just wish we had made a video.

There is always a lesson to be learned from a situation like this. Ours was:
Next time - Take Uber.

(When I returned home and started editing my photos I could hear Jim Croce singing in the background. He's Bad Bad Leroy Brown and You Don't Mess Around With Jim.)

Posted by littlesam1 12:02 Archived in USA Tagged chicago taxis fights uber bad_bad_leroy_brown you_don't_mess_around_with_jim jim_croce taxi_drivers Comments (7)

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