John Hertz: Patron of taxis and buses
Yellow cabs are as prosaic to America as black taxis are to London. In 1915, John Hertz formed Yellow Cab in Chicago and painted his taxis yellow after the University of Chicago determined it was the most distinct color at a long distance. In a single decade, yellow cabs sprouted from Chicago to more than 1,300 American cities. B.C. Forbes, the founder of Forbes magazine, called the Hertz story "one of the most inspiring and most illuminating romances of modern American business." Born in 1879 in Ruttka, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that is now Slovakia, Hertz immigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was 5, and settled in Chicago. When he was 12, Hertz ran away from home, sold his school books for pennies and took on odd jobs to survive. It is unclear whether he ever returned. He sold newspapers and ran errands as a copy boy for an editor of the Chicago Morning News, later the Chicago Record.