William Rollins's problems with the cab ride [February 18] get no sympathy from this reader. Like the cops I also chuckle at the incident. People that are outraged by the fear cabdrivers have of being robbed and/or killed, while trying to earn a living, should try the job sometime. I once drove a bus on the west side, years ago. One Sunday night, on my last run before going to the barn, I pulled up to 16th and Pulaski and opened the doors so that the riders could exit, they all left the bus except two young black males. They were not seated together and both seemed to be sleeping. I called the stop several times and they did not stir. When I attempted to shake one of them, I noticed a sly grin. They were feigning sleep.
At that time there were no black people living west of Pulaski; the factories were not open, and the whites were hostile. Yet they insisted on staying on the bus and being transported to the end of the line. I feared that they would jump me once we reached the dark factory area. But I wanted to get home safely, so I started driving west as I knew there was a tavern several blocks east of the viaduct. When I reached the tavern I grabbed the bag and changer and jumped from the bus and dashed into the tavern, leaving the two men on the bus.
The people in the tavern shouted at me and told me to get out. They were ready to beat the hell out of me until I explained to them that I was in trouble and wanted to call the police. They allowed me to remain inside until the police arrived.
The police told me to take the men to the end of the line, which was four blocks further west. I refused and said that I would quit the job before I would take any more chances. Public servants should not have to live with fear while on the job. Policemen have guns and they are also fearful of being harmed. It is heroic for the cabs to try to serve our dangerous communities.