The Best Mas­cot

最好的吉祥物

Special Focus - - Contents - Zhai Jie 翟杰

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)

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