Taxi driver finds over Rs 16 lakh in his cab, returns it

May 15, 2014, 08:18 IST | Agencies

Finding 170,000 yuan in the backseat of his cab after taking a young couple to a car shop, Zhao Lei handed the money in to his company, who gave it back to the passengers

Heilongjiang: A generous taxi driver has become an overnight celebrity in China after he found a huge bundle of cash in the back of his cab — and promptly returned it to its rightful owner. Zhao Lei discovered 170,000 yuan (approximately Rs 16,23,000) in a paper bag on the backseat of his taxi after taking a young couple to a car dealership in Harbin, in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang.

Pic for representation

Instead of keeping the huge haul — likely to be at least three times his annual salary — he handed it in to the company which he works for. The firm contacted the passengers, who said they had been carrying so much cash in order to pay for a new car, and returned the money.

The delighted couple tried to offer Zhao 10,000 yuan (Rs 95,400) as a reward for his honesty, but he refused to accept it.

‘Won’t take advantage’
“It’s what I have to do,” the driver said after news of his exploits came to light. “Anyone who lost such a big amount of money will go crazy. I won’t take advantage of that.”

GDP per person in China is around £4,500 (Rs 44,8580), meaning that the bounty discovered by Zhao represents an enormous reward for the average Chinese person.

Taxi drivers earn less than 5,000 yuan a month for working 14-hour shifts, six days a week.The story of Zhao’s selflessness is likely to be held up as an example of community spirit by the Chinese media, in contrast to a wave of stories demonstrating the increasing individualism of the country’s society.

In 2011, a little girl who was run over by two cars was seen on camera bleeding to death while nearly 20 passers-by simply ignored her plight.

President Xi Jinping has introduced the concept of the ‘Chinese Dream’ in a bid to ensure that citizens retain their sense of social solidarity as the country grows wealthier.

Did you know?

Taxi drivers in China earn around 5,000 yuan (Rs 47,756) a month after working 14-hour shifts, six days a week

¥10,000 The reward (approximately Rs 95,400) offered to the cab driver, which he refused

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