An interview with a Chicago Trolley tour guide

Kevin Doerksen has been giving tours for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he’d show out-of-town friends and family all around Chicago. Today, he says he’s found his life’s niche-as a tour guide for Chicago Trolley& Double Decker Company.

Kevin Doerksen

  • Lifelong Chicagoan
  • Loves walking, biking and anything outdoorsy; a cook, avid
    reader and blog dabbler
  • Married father of two-3-month-old Micha and 2-year-old Elianna:
    “I always tell them they will either love or hate the fact that
    they will know absolutely everything there is to know about Chicago
    by the age of 12.”
  • Average work day is about 10 hours, but some days can exceed 15
    hours.

He spent a few minutes with us sharing his passion for the Windy City.

What’s your favorite stop of the tour?

I love the museum at the Chicago Fire Academy. It gives me an opportunity to share the city’s history and recognize that there are people who put their lives on the line for us every day. Another favorite stop is the Old Water Tower; I always personalize the tour by saying this is where I proposed to my wife. I get lots of `oohs’ and `ahhs’ for that one. I don’t know if my wife knows this, but she’s always a part of my tour.

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened on a tour?

I’ve seen some very weird things, most that can’t be shared in a magazine. Let your imagination run wild on that.

How do you handle badly behaved children?

I have kids myself so I have a fairly high tolerance for mischief, but sometimes it can start to affect the tour for someone else. In that situation I suggest they hop off and take some time to relax, then hop back on again. There are ways to mitigate the effects of rambunctious kids, like sometimes I just have everyone scream their lungs off when we’re going through an underpass.

What’s your favorite thing about Chicago?

Chicago has become such an ethnic hodge-podge. I can hop on my bike or in my car and suddenly I’m transported to India or to Pakistan. There’s such a wide variety of people, cultures, food!

What’s one of the best things about being a tour guide?

I like to say that I’m known worldwide because people on tours always take pictures with me! I’m on refrigerators across the world.

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