Expensive Lost Handbag Returned by Taxi Driver, Owner Instead Makes Complaint

March 12, 2019 Updated: September 6, 2019

A taxi driver returned a brand new, expensive handbag to its rightful owner after she accidentally left it in his car. Instead of expressing gratitude, the owner complained about how the driver asked for fare after he delivered the bag to her, the Qilu Evening News reported on March 9.

The taxi driver reported the incident to the authorities, and it was resolved peacefully later. Many Chinese supported the driver who works in Shanghai, China.

The topic was hotly discussed on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Though the bag was very expensive, the driver felt the right thing to do was to return it to the owner.

“That bag was so expensive, it should be about 33,000 yuan ($5000)!” the driver said intensely, using the local Shanghai dialect, in a video posted on Weibo. He acknowledged how easy it would have been to take the bag. “But that would have been shameful of me, since I [only] found the bag.”

No information about the owner of the bag was given, and the type of bag was not reported.

Returning the Lost Bag

A coworker at the taxi company said that the owner called in about the lost bag, asking if it had been found. She said that the driver had found the bag, and was holding onto it for the owner.

“At that time, the driver said that he’d run the meter as he drove over,” the coworker said in the Weibo video. “After he sent it over, the customer was displeased about having to pay the cost of the fare.”

“Don’t tell me that I did something kind for other people, something that I could be proud of,” the taxi driver said in what may have been a secretly recorded interview posted on Weibo. “Then the result I get—don’t tell me that it’s just criticism!”

“Was I wrong? I said I’ll drive back, and told her to wait for me, I’ll call you [when I get there], and you can pick it up,” the driver went on to say in the video. “I’m going to run the meter while I drive over.”

However, when the driver met with the customer, she was unhappy about him asking for the fare.

Taxis in Beijing
Taxis in Beijing. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

“That basically drove me crazy!” said the driver in the video. “I wanted to argue right back [with her].”

“Wouldn’t it be great if I instead took that [bag] back to my wife?” the driver said, with a hint of anger in his voice. “[The customer] didn’t realize that she had such good luck! She didn’t even take her receipt; if I wanted to steal her bag it would have been so easy!”

The driver instead took a more level-headed approach. “The driver was being very rational, and felt like it wasn’t that big of a deal, and he reported this to the authorities,” the coworker said in the video.

“The item was definitely returned to the owner, and he went to the authorities to solve the problem, instead of doing it his own way,” the coworker said.

Many netizens voiced support for the driver in screen captures of Weibo in the video. “The owner of the bag is so unreal. The driver’s request was totally within reason.”

In the end, the fare was paid to the driver, and the conflict was resolved. “All men are created equal, and respect goes both ways,” the driver said in the video.

Kindness in China

With the longest written history in the world, China is ripe with sayings on behavior that maintained the morality of society.

Chinese text
(Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

Ancient Chinese culture, much like Western tradition, emphasized benevolence to others. A common saying in Chinese belief is “good deeds are met with benevolent returns, while evil deeds are met with retribution.”

A saying from 2,000 years ago, related to the Chinese concept of the Dao, also referred to as the Way, emphasizes the need for kindness and the benefits that come from it: “To help those who are suffering difficulties and to have sympathy for our neighbors, this is following the Dao [The Way]. Those who follow the Dao will be blessed.”

Tang frescoes
Frescoes from the Tang Dynasty. (Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images)

Another ancient Chinese saying: “To have virtuous citizens who are kind to their neighbors, this is precious treasure for a country.”