Craig: For wisdom in the Windy City, hail a cab

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 28, 2012 - 8:06 AM

Adrian Peterson missed the bus, but maybe he was treated to some insight from a Chicago cabbie.

hide

Adrian Peterson

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Even at 4:45 on a Monday morning, Roosevelt Franklin is the happiest cab driver you'll ever meet.

During a 20-minute ride from the JW Marriott in downtown Chicago to Midway Airport, you can sit back in Roosevelt's "King Drive Cab" car and discover that his son went to Iowa State to become an architect; that he has six grandchildren; that one of them, a granddaughter, went to Michigan State; and that his "mama" sure made a lot of sense while raising young Roosevelt.

You also can get some insight into what it's like being a cabbie getting flagged down by an NFL player.

No, Roosevelt wasn't the lucky cabbie who transported Vikings running back Adrian Peterson from the JW Marriott to Soldier Field when the NFL's leading rusher missed the team bus on Sunday morning.

And, no, Roosevelt wasn't the unlucky cabbie who allegedly got choked by Dolphins safety Jonathon Amaya, who was arrested for assault in Miami around 4 a.m. Monday.

Peterson's incident was relatively minor and most likely never will happen again now that coach Leslie Frazier has talked to him and stressed publicly that yes, "it is a big deal" when your team leaders aren't where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be.

As for Amaya, well, he apparently gave a cabbie $100 to take him beyond the driver's normal area. During the trip, Amaya allegedly became aggressive.

When the driver tried to kick him out and return his $100, Amaya allegedly leaned forward and wrapped his hands around the driver's neck, according to reports.

"Most of the time, you don't know who they are," Roosevelt says. "Most of the time, they look like normal people."

But Roosevelt seems as if he'd be the same happy-go-lucky, talk-your-ears-off-but-in-a-good-way cabbie no matter whom he was transporting.

"Mama always told me, 'Don't judge a book by its cover,' " Roosevelt said. "That's my motto. But I did one time."

It was three months ago. Roosevelt had just been stiffed out of a significant fare by a woman who didn't have the money, or at least that's what she said.

"So I let her go and I'm driving down the road and this young guy flags me down," Roosevelt said. "He's got on these baggy shorts and a gray T-shirt on. I look at him and I say, 'Oh, Lord, here comes another one. Please do not do this to me again.' "

Roosevelt pulled over. The guy gave Roosevelt the address, which, according to Roosevelt, was in the "fancy part of town."

"So I say, 'Ooh, you must have a good job. What do you do for work?' " Roosevelt says. "And he says, 'I'm a professional running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers.' "

It was Rashard Mendenhall. Skokie, Ill., native. Former Chicago area prep star who went to Illinois and was drafted 23rd overall in 2008.

Mendenhall has a condo and a lot of family in Chicago. Before he got to see either though, he got to spend some time getting to know Roosevelt, and vice versa.

"Mama always told me, 'Son, it doesn't hurt anybody to be nice and talk to people,' " Roosevelt said. "In this case, it actually paid off. Rashard gave me five $100 bills for a tip.

"Can you believe that? I love my Bears, boy. And they sure whooped up on those Vikings. Those Vikings looked like they were asleep. I can't believe they didn't get to [Jay] Cutler. Everybody gets to him. That was ..."

Wait for it. He's circling back to Mendenhall.

"But Mendenhall. I always check to see how he's doing. Great guy. Gave me 500 bucks just for talking to him and not just sitting there driving the car. He says he doesn't like taking limos. Rather ride in a cab like regular folks."

Sometimes, they don't have any choice. Sometimes, kickoff is in two hours and the team bus is gone.

"I bet that was a good tip," Roosevelt said. "Tell Adrian to ride with me next time."

Mark Craig mark.craig@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - WP: A. Sanchez 5 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Robertson 4
Washington - WP: D. Fister 4 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 2
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 4
Boston - WP: A. Webster 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 2
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 0
Miami - WP: J. Turner 4 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. McHugh 2
Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario 3 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: J. Burton 4
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 10 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 3
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: K. Hendricks 0
Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 2
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 7 FINAL
Colorado - LP: R. Brothers 5
Baltimore - WP: T. McFarland 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: Y. Medina 2
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 3 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 8
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 9 FINAL
Texas - LP: M. Mikolas 3
Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu 4 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 3
FC Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Portland 3 FINAL
Montreal 2
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 23 FINAL
Brt Columbia 6
Ottawa 23 FINAL
Hamilton 33
Toronto 9 FINAL
Saskatchewan 37
Minnesota 76 FINAL
Connecticut 65
Atlanta 67 FINAL
Washington 77
Chicago 69 FINAL
Tulsa 79
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close