VANCOUVER’S yellow Cab driver Harjinder Singh, who is in his early 30s, returned an envelope containing $10,000 to the passenger who had left it in his cab and refused the $1,000 reward offered to him by the grateful man.
I could not meet him because he took leave to attend to some personal matter I cannot disclose. Yellow Cab manager Carolyn Bauer clarified that his name was ‘Harjinder’ and not ‘Sarjinder’ as reported by a news agency.
Unfortunately, the only time we generally hear about cabbies is when something negative takes place and the usual stereotype of a South Asian cabbie is splashed in mainstream media, much to the delight of racists.
But Bauer, who’s worked for some 24 years in this industry, said people would be amazed at what all cabbies turn in all the time: wallets with money, cell phones – even antique silverware.
She told me: “These guys work so hard. They are so loving towards their families. And if you see the photos from our lost and found [section], you’re going to go ‘My God!’ Like look at what people leave behind and these guys bring it in.
“They will take people and all of a sudden people won’t have money to pay. So then they will give them a set of keys and say ‘hold that as collateral until I come in and pay.’
“And when you see the cell phones that are lost – oh my goodness! And my guys turn them in.”
Bauer said that just last week on Friday, a cabbie turned in a wallet with $900. She added: “It happens all the time!”
She said: “I can’t say enough about them. They work hard. They work so many hours for their families. They take such abuse at times – we all know that … when people are drinking. I know guys that have had knives held to them. I’ve gone to scenes myself personally where I’ve seen guys beat up with blood coming out of them.”
She added: “They are all just so honest. I mean not everyone is perfect. I wished we lived in a perfect world. … But I’ve got to tell you that 95 per cent of them are great. … They show so much respect to people and they get trashed all the time.”