Photo by Heather Middleton
By Maria-Jose Subiria
Anthony Sims heads to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on frequent business trips, of sorts, but not to catch departing flights.
For 25 years, Sims has served Atlanta airport passengers as a driver for Atlanta Checker Cab.
"I enjoy my job, apparently, because I've been doing it for a while," said Sims, 50.
Sims said he visits Hartsfield-Jackson to drop off passengers at least five days a week. He also picks up about 15 passengers per week, he said. These passengers request the cab company's service, he added.
"Well we [Atlanta Checker Cab] get a lot of business calls there," said Sims, during an interview. "I would say our service calls probably range anywhere from 100 to 150 a week."
The taxi cab driver said he only picks up passengers at the airport when they request to be transported by Atlanta Checker Cab. Sims said when services are requested, he receives a radio dispatch call from his company, and that when he arrives at the airport, he goes through the taxi assembly area and pays a $1.50 Hartsfield-Jackson surcharge.
Sims explained that the taxi assembly area is where drivers wait with their taxi cabs until they are called to pick up passengers at the ground transportation area of Atlanta's airport.
Sims said he does not wait long inside the taxi assembly area because his services are pre-requested by passengers. "They'll call and tell us when they [are] getting off their flight ... and we say we are meeting at ground transportation," he said.
"When I go there, I go there knowing that I am picking up someone, you know, because I am radio dispatched," he added.
Atlanta Checker Cab's customers can range from individuals who have used the company's services for 20 years, to businesses such as airlines.
"We have regular customers and that is how it normally works for cab companies, you know," said Sims. "My connection with the people who I have picked up at the airport for, over the years, has been kind of pleasant ... I've never had any problem at the airport."
Sims said he has enjoyed the conversations he has shared with Hartsfield-Jackson passengers over the years, which have often been about the City of Atlanta.
"I've had the typical business people that come in for events like football, baseball games, conventions, stuff like that," he said.
He said he has met unique and interesting people through his line of work, including famous sports figures, entertainers and businessmen.
According to International Association of Transportation Regulators officials, Sims has been nominated for their 2010 International Driver of the Year-Lifetime Achievement Award.
"It makes me feel pretty good. I [am] pretty excited about it," said Sims.
Sims said he hails from Chattanooga, Tenn., and currently lives in Downtown Atlanta.
He said when he was 23 years old he moved to Atlanta, in 1983, because several of his friends who were attending DeVry University in the area had a spare room.
"I came while they were going to school and I started working, and you know, that is the beginning of me coming to Atlanta," he said.
He said from 1983 to 1984 he worked delivering office supplies. Sims said he moved on and worked for Executive Town and Country, a limo company in Dunwoody, from 1984 to 1985, before his employment at Atlanta Checker Cab.
"I've been driving since then, and what made me stay here is the city, because Atlanta is a nice place ... It's been a very pleasant stay," said Sims. "I visit home sometimes. It's 120 miles from here."