City cab driver drives back to return phone left on car and refusing cash reward

(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

Welcome to the Local Heroes series, where we highlight inspiring stories by people in Singapore who are using their skills to do good.

We’ve all heard stories of people leaving their phones in taxis and had difficulties getting them back for various reasons. Passenger Julius Ho shared a different experience, bringing smiles to faces, how a taxi driver drove back to where he was to return his phone and rejecting the cash reward for his time.

Starting his post with a direct address to Comfort Delgro Facebook page, Ho wrote: “I would like to openly give my candid feedback on the service of one of your drivers. I hope you read this, and the appropriate actions are taken. I strongly feel that we should share our experience.” The taxi operator has since reshared on their page, adding that they will “convey your appreciation to Cabby Lim and reward him”.

Ho recalled taking the taxi, driven by CityCab driver Lim Hong Herng, from Kallang Wave Mall on 30 Dec with a friend. Upon arrival, even though they could handle the groceries, Lim had gotten out of his taxi to assist them.

“Only after we had started walking from the cab to the lift lobby did we realise that one of us had left our phones in the taxi,” Ho recalled. The pair had panicked and tried to call the hotline without avail.

After being placed on hold for more than five minutes, Ho and his friend decided to head to the apartment to call the phone via an online app. Lim picked up the phone and said that he would drive back to where he had dropped Ho even though he was quite a distance away.

To thank Lim for taking his time to drive back and for the trouble, Ho wanted to give him a S$50 cash reward. However, after giving the phone back to Ho, the cabby had refused the reward.

“He refused to accept even a lower sum of money. This went on for a few minutes and after a spirited back and forth, we conceded that he would not accept a cash reward for returning the phone that we had carelessly misplaced,” Ho wrote.

With more people working from home and refraining from going out of the house for gatherings and shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, taxi drivers had suffered a huge drop in income. Coupled with the competition from private hire vehicles, a grateful Ho let on that “I am sure Mr Lim has suffered some loss of income and maybe even anxiety over the challenging year that is 2020. And yet he refused to take any form of cash reward for returning our phone.”

Likening Lim to an angel amongst us, Ho ended his post with a shoutout to the cabby. “Mr Lim if you see this, I want you to know that you are generous and a truly decent human being, and you made this ending of 2020 more sweet than one could hope for. I wish you a blessed life!”

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