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Night Spies

We are at the corner of Sheridan and Wellington

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This is where it all began. It was a freezing night, and my girlfriend and I decided to hail a cab. The cabbie was this big bear of a guy, and he started chatting with us. "You guys ever been to Chinatown?" he asked. We said no. A few blocks later he said, "C'mon, let's go." My girlfriend gave me this concerned look, but we decided to just go with the flow. We had maybe $10 between us, but as soon as he started heading south the cabbie turned off the meter. We were still a bit worried about where he was taking us until--sure enough--he turned off at Cermak and headed toward Chinatown. Then he said, "You know, I'm hungry." We stopped in front of a restaurant, and as we were walking in a ten-year-old Chinese kid recognized the cabbie and shouted out "Uncle Morris! Uncle Morris!" and hugged him. The three of us sat at a table with the boy as he worked on his homework, and then his father, the owner, talked with us for a bit. I think the entire bill was under $10. We said good-bye and headed north again. I've seen many cold Chicago winters come and go, but I haven't forgotten that cab ride.

--Rob Koch, freelance writer

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