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July 9, 2012

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Cabbies' honesty a sign of city's good character

IN the recent Lujiazui Forum, a top government financial official pointed to a small thing that is a very good indication of Shanghai's potential to become a bigger financial hub: honest taxi drivers.

The day-to-day dealings of cabbies just doing the right thing may not get so much attention, but they can say a lot about a city.

One taxi driver has been widely praised after he returned a wallet and ID card left by a passenger.

Another helped find a passenger who walked away with an iPhone lost by a previous passenger.

"I just did what I should do," said Song Kai, 44, the cabbie who returned the wallet. "Others will do the same thing."

On July 6, Song drove the man, who had had a few drinks, to his home in the Pudong New Area. The man left behind his wallet, which Song didn't realize until the next morning, when he was about to give the taxi to his partner for the next shift.

Finding the man's address on his ID card, Song rang the passenger's doorbell at 8am and gave the wallet back.

At the moment Song returned it, the man was planning to call the taxi fleet, said Song.

"I was going to take a flight the next morning about 10am," said the owner, extending his thanks to the driver. "You make the city better."

Song, from local Dazhong Taxi Co, has been in the business for two years. Before that, he was in the shipping business.

"Usually we'd give the lost items back to the fleet, which would contact the owners," said Song. "Since I had the address I thought I would just do a favor."

Song did not talk about it until the owner praised him on a blog and posted a picture of Song. The taxi company will give Song 200 yuan (US$31.42) as a reward.

Another cabbie, Tang Jianzhong, helped a passenger find his iPhone that had been lost in the car. Tang said the cell phone was picked up by a woman who also took Tang's taxi on July 4. "She just put it inside her bag soon like nothing happened," recalled Tang, who didn't know anything was awry until the owner called the taxi fleet about the missing phone. Tang then carried the owner to the place where the woman got off and waited until the owner persuaded her to return the phone.


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