Scary Cab – Not so Happy Hour

Hope Bertram, Founder Windy City Social

Something really scary happened to me last week and I wanted to let you all know about it to keep you safe and smart when you travel late at night.

I went to happy hour with my friends and ended up taking a cab home after having a few cocktails.

When I got into the cab, I told the driver where I lived and told him to take the drive to my exit and then go west.  He got to the drive and went south (the wrong direction)  When I told him he was going the wrong way I got uncomfortable (I actually texted a few friends with the cab number and let them know what was going on.)


He turned around at the next exit and was being a jerk when I made him turn the meter off – and even turned it back on right away before heading back in the right direction.  So then he starts driving really fast going in the right direction and starts asking me weird questions like if I’m single and how much I’d been drinking.  Really freaked out, I was glad that he did get off at the correct exit when we reached it.


A few blocks later I directed him to go left and he turned right, again going the wrong direction on a dark street – so then I asked him, if everything was ok and if he was drunk  His reply was, “Why, are you scared?  The last time I went the wrong way with someone it was a gay guy and I asked him if he was scared and he thought I was going to beat the crap out of him.” (he actually didn’t say “gay” but I’m not going to repeat what he said)

Ok, now I was really freaked out so I told him that I had tweeted his cab number to 3,000 people and posted a note about it to my FB profile to 2,000 people and that if anything did happen they would know where to look.  – I actually didn’t do this, but TOTALLY wish I had.   I then gave him money and tried to get out of the cab and the door was locked.  He wouldn’t open the door so I called 911 and told them the cab number and exactly where I was and what was going on.

They asked if I needed them to send the police and I said yes, all the time repeating what they were saying to the cab driver and saying – “Are you going to let me out of the cab, our would you like the police to come?”

He opened the car and I waited for him to drive off before I walked to my house, staying on the line with 911 the whole time.


So why am I sharing this information? Because when I told my friend about what had happened she told me that this summer a woman had been raped by a cab driver and had gotten on at Clark and Fullerton (I got in the cab at Fullerton and Lincoln)  and I want you all to be safe

Here’s the story:

I really depend on a cab to KEEP me safe, not make me feel like I’m in danger. I always take a cab when it’s late and have them watch me go through my entry door – Every experience till now has been wonderful, so I’ll continue to do this and be smart


  • ALWAYS make sure you know what cab number you are getting into AND the cab company (I didn’t do the later)
  • Have your phone quickly accessible in case you need it
  • Don’t hesitate to text friends with this information or tweet or post something on your FB profile
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY – If you feel like your life is in danger, call 911.  I might have waited longer than I should, but I really don’t like calling 911 because I don’t want to clog the system with an unnecessary call, but what I realize know, is that my situation wasn’t unnecessary and calling is exactly what I should have done.
  • Make sure to report this to 311. They will generate a complaint and prosecute the driver. Your information will stay anonymous.  People like this should not be driving a cab.

I’m not sure what have happened if I handled the situation differently, and I’m really not going to think too much about it. I did file a complaint and am pursuing it with the city.

PLEASE share these tips with your friends and stay safe!

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11 Responses to “Scary Cab – Not so Happy Hour”

  1. i am so sorry that this happened to you.

    i always text the number of a cab that i am in when i am out late. i also am tweeting most of the time when i get in a cab.

    it’s always so hard to say what you would have done in a situation but i probably would have called the police right after he started acting crazy after being told he didn’t go the right way.

    i just don’t think we should take chances, so i would rather err on the side of caution.

    another thing, drivers probably think i am a *itch but i am always giving direction when in a cab.

    when they come off the express way, or switch to another street, etc, i always say something like “ok you know you need to make a right here correct?” but i do it to avoid confusion, getting ticked off and to basically be in control.

    i am glad nothing serious happened and totally appreciate you posting and sharing this.

  2. Thank you very much for posting this story and making others aware. You handled yourself very well for what must have been a horrifying trip.

    I hope you were received well when you reported this man to the cab company. I also hope the police department is keeping closer tabs on the company’s employees. This is a frightening story. Someone needs to do a background check on that man.

  3. I have horrible cab driver stories myself. I DID actually tweet a cab number two weeks ago. I’ve called the police on cabs multiple times. But my worst cab driver story was similar to yours, when a cab driver wouldn’t let me out of the cab. I beat him over the head & he still wouldn’t stop the car. Here’s my story

  4. thanks for sharing your story Leyla. That must have been really scary too. You handled it well

  5. Wish there was a link on this so that I could post this on my facebook page!

  6. Thanks Julie! Please share with as many people as you can. Here’s the link to my post on FB! My wall is open so you should be able to see it

    The blog is new – I should add a few share buttons. Trying to figure that out now.

  7. Wow, now that was scary. A lesson learned. Don’t let this turn into something that changes your lifestyle. Just keep caution in your thoughts. We can’t live in fear. You must continue living the life you want to lead. Fear is powerful. Let this go as a “Lesson learned”, not as a life changing event. You did good, you kept your cool. Report this to the cab company…as this may or could happen to someone else. Valuable Lesson Learned. 🙂 dianne

  8. OMG! That’s horrifying!

    You handled it marvelously. And your post hopefully will help/protect future potential victims.

  9. I read this when you first posted it a while back. I’m glad I was directed here to read again. Great reminder.


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