“It’s like the tale of two cities, with people walking and strolling, corner businesses, joggers, and dog parks. There are no longer vacant houses; it reminds me, as a native Baltimorean, how the entire city used to be,” says Thaddeus Logan.
He’s been in the taxicab business over 40 years, is frequently in Johns Hopkins’ vicinity in East Baltimore, and has witnessed significant growth of the Johns Hopkins network, in East Baltimore and in acquisitions of other properties around Baltimore City.
Sometimes it appeared to me and my passengers that the resident doctors and their families were living in a fenced-in compound away from East Baltimore’s immediate environment. I guess it’s understandable but in reality it’s segregation.
But I know there is also a lot of good. Not only do people come from all over the world to Hopkins, but also from some of the poorest parts of the city.
I drive and recall an encounter that shook me to the bone.
I had just dropped off some passengers who I picked up at Perkins, a public housing project, at Baltimore and Highland streets. I was en route to Hopkins’ taxicab stand, driving westbound on Fayette Street approaching Lakewood, and cars were slowing because a Black man, about 30 years old with a young baby in his arms and a three year old boy barely keeping up, was dancing around the traffic in the middle of the street.
The man was hysterical, crying, his speech slurred and tears and snot streaming down his face. Motorists slowed, rubbernecking, but just kept on driving. The man was at the cab’s window holding this limp child.
“What’s going on?” I asked. He was extremely excited, but I looked at the child and realized he wasn’t breathing. I yelled, “Get in!”
We traveled fast, going through three red lights toward Hopkins’ emergency room. Again, I asked what happened.
“How the fuck do I know! Just get me to the goddamn hospital ASAP!” he said.
“Mister, is the child breathing?”
“I don’t know!” He was really screaming, hollering and acting extremely desperate. I told him to lay the child down on the back seat, blow intervals of air into his mouth and apply pressure to the chest. While he did it he yelled, “Just get me to the fucking hospital!”
Mind you, it was about 5 p.m. during rush-hour traffic and Fayette Street was jammed. The traffic signal at Wolfe was red, passengers were boarding an MTA bus at the corner, and the cab was four car lengths back in the westbound outside lane.
“Go around the goddamn cars!” He screamed. The cab was angled over into the eastbound lane.
“Mister I just can’t do it,” I said. The bus was blocking my view, we could have very easily been involved in a serious head-on collision. Indeed, just then a car came speeding around the corner.
At wit’s end, he jumped from the rear right door of the cab, running, child in arms and the three year old boy following. This wild, ignorant-acting, frantic, scared man was doing what he knew to save his child. I sped up and slammed on the brakes after the light changed to swing the door shut.
My curiosity was at an all time high, so I returned to the hospital later that day. After I told my side of the story, the receptionist said the boy was okay and that he was out of danger, but wouldn’t tell me more. I sighed with relief and was thankful that he was alive. Hats off to the father!
But I didn’t mention the story to my next fare, who said he’d been in East Baltimore all his life. Instead, we talked about the tension between the good that Hopkins provides and the kind of displacement that it required as the Johns Hopkins complex grows.
“From a distance Johns Hopkins Hospital looks like a city in itself, rising through the ground with those tall, majestic buildings reaching to the heavens,” my passenger said.
I said, “Hey, I think it is.”
- Hey Cabbie II! Showcases Baltimore Cab Driver’s Wisdom
- Thaddeus Logan, author of Hey Cabbie!
- Taxicab Confessional: A Baltimore Cabbie Publishes His Own True Story
- Hey Cabbie online
- JHU SOURCE
- Admissions Talks: What Does “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” Mean to Admissions?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SYDNEE LOGAN
Sydnee Logan, MA is the Sr. Social Media and Digital Content Specialist for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She shares Hopkins Nurses with the world.