Professional courtesy takes a back seat in shoe-throwing street fight.

I think it’s generally human nature to treat people kindly if they work in an industry you have first-hand knowledge of. It’s why my brother, a former bellman, is an excellent tipper when checking into a hotel, and why I’m always cordial when I cross paths with dashing international jewel thieves. When you understand the specific difficulties and pressures someone faces as part of their daily professional routine, it’s easy to empathize.

So the case of Chan Wan Yoo is a surprising one. Shortly after midnight on December 21, the 54-year-old Yoo spotted a passenger-less taxi on the street in Tokyo’s downtown Shinbashi neighborhood. But as he tried to get in, the driver (also a man in his 50s) told him that he was already on his way to pick up a fare who’d called in a taxi request, and that he couldn’t give Yoo a ride.

Yoo took issue with the refusal, and started banging on the car’s window in anger. When the driver stepped out of his car to get Yoo to stop beating on his taxi, Yoo instead turned his anger on the driver, knocking him down and throwing the driver’s shoe, which had fallen off, into his face. The driver’s injuries are expected to take one week to heal.

Yoo was subsequently arrested and taken into custody by officers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Atago Precinct, who report he was drunk at the time, an allegation backed up by Yoo’s statement that he “doesn’t remember” assaulting the driver (odds are if you can’t remember not giving someone a beating in the street, you were pretty liquored up). It’s also customary for police reports in Japan to include the suspect’s occupation, which often seems like superfluous information, but in the case of Yoo is actually ironically pertinent, because Yoo is the president of Tokyo MK, a taxi company.

A taxi company president who’s ready to beat on a taxi driver who’s just doing his job sounds like he’d be a terrible boss to work for. Oddly enough, on the night of the incident Yoo wasn’t even trying to get into one of his company’s cars; the taxi he was trying to get into is a licensed independent cab owned by the driver, which implies a pretty startling lack of faith in his own company’s services.

On the other hand, one could say that Yoo’s instant willingness to literally fight Tokyo MK’s rivals is indicative of a fierce, if disturbingly violent, competitive drive, which could be a management plus if he channeled it into more lawful, less shoe-throwy outlets. The debate as to whether or not Yoo is a good boss or not are now moot, though, as following his arrest he has resigned from his position with Tokyo MK, while expressing his “deep regrets for the trouble and worry I caused.”

Source: Yahoo! News Japan/ via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikipedia/Muyo

You can follow Casey on Twitter, but don’t expect any clues as to where the jewels are.