The Best Mascot
Ihailed a taxi during a business trip. I was in a hurry and asked the driver, a middle-aged man, to drive fast. He glanced at me and reluctantly replied, “I’ll try.”
He was not a good driver. He could have overtaken other cars several times, but he missed the opportunities. When there were still three seconds at one green light, he could have accelerated through the intersection, but he stopped in advance. Looking at cars passing by from both sides, I reminded the unhurried driver, “I’ve taken taxis a lot of times, but this is the slowest I’ve ever had.” He seemed unaffected, looking ahead and continuing his driving.
Was he a new driver? I wondered. If it was so, I shouldn’t press him further. But no, the driver’s info card showed that he had twenty years of experience driving. I was curious and asked, “You must earn less than other taxi drivers since you drive so safe?” He nodded and sighed, “Yeah. I’ve probably lost a dozen yuan a day.” I replied, “That’s right. You’re probably missing out on another thousand yuan a month. Why don’t you earn more money like other drivers?”
My question ignited a conversation with him. He told me that he used to drive impatiently and swim between lanes when he was new. He was fined multiple times each month for violating traffic rules. Even worse, he got hurt in several accidents when he tried to drive too aggressively. Since then, he had learned to slow down, but he still couldn’t control himself when he saw passengers taking other taxes.
“What did you do?” I asked. He pointed his lips at an object in the front of the car, keeping both hands on the wheel. It was a family photo. I’ve seen many mascots placed in cars, from crystal agate to colored glaze gourds, and to auspicious beads, but it was the first time that I had ever seen a family photo placed in the car. He explained, “Sometimes when I desire to speed up, my daughter’s innocent smile and my wife’s gentle expression remind me that I have to control myself and be safe. Then I calm down. I’d rather earn less and not have my family worry about me. I’m not a superstitious man, so I feel this family photo is the best mascot for me.”
When I arrived at my destination, I was deeply touched by what the taxi driver had done. With this family photo, he kept reminding himself to be more responsible and committed to his family.
( From HebeiWorkersDaily , December 13, 2017. Translation: Li Li)