Once Upon a Time They Lived Happily Ever After Part 2
Episode 2 Lost and Found
If you have read Episode 1 of this story you will know that I recently found myself in the happy position of being able to re-unite a bag containing a lot of cash and important ID along with bank cards etc with its frantic owner; however the tale had a bit of a postscript.
It has often been the case, that a passenger hands over an item that has been left by a previous rider, often something small. The thought that a passenger finding items and keeping them for themselves has also crossed my mind, but I like to think that most people are honest and wouldn’t do such a thing.
In most cases the items end up with the rightful owner, but to be honest my heart always sinks when I find stuff because I know I’m in for a laborious task of finding the owner, plus either having to pack stuff up and post it at my expense, (no-one has ever offered to refund the postage) or take it to meet someone. In the latter case a distraught businessman that I met to return his phone insisted I took a suitable cash reward, but rewards can range from nothing to a packet of biscuits. I feel the fare from where you found it to where they want it is not unreasonable, although in my case I can’t expect a fare from the south coast to North London, so a token of gratitude is acceptable.
Occasionally we hear tales of heroic deeds and acts of kindness carried out by licensed taxi drivers. These are often highlighted against a backdrop of misdeeds including acts of violence and criminality perpetrated by some members of the private hire industry. Obviously, there are those in both camps that are happy to seize upon an opportunity, taking advantage of a mistake by an unfortunate traveller that has left an item of property in the back of a cab. This though is much less likely in the case of London’s taxi drivers who have spent years suffering the torture that is the “Knowledge of London” to gain the coveted green badge. Who would risk anything by an act of stealing by finding with so much at stake? Mobile phones are the most common thing to be left behind, but sometimes bags or items of shopping get forgotten and left behind. In the majority of cases items get returned to their rightful owners, but in some cases this can’t happen for various reasons. Phones that are on silent and locked, maybe they have fallen down between the seat cushions and don’t get discovered for a while.
In the recent case of the bag of cash and valuables the odd thing was that it was during the third ride after the bag had been left that it was discovered by a young guy who was taking me back to East Dulwich.
So I had been from Terminal 5 to Stratton Street, Mayfair. From there to East Dulwich and then from Oval to a few minutes into the journey back to East Dulwich before the bag was found.
Now Mrs Rose Panuzzo the lady I had taken into Mayfair had asked me to pick her up again in the morning to take her back to Terminal 5. She was so delighted about her misfortune of having a forced layover in London. She had never before been here so she was extolling the virtues of the splendid Mayfair Hotel and the kindness and attention she had received at the hands of BA staff at Heathrow.
We swung round via Buckingham Palace so she could take some pics before we made our way out, chatting happily. Then I told her the story of the lost bag that she had sat beside all the way on the previous day’s trip. She was astonished and remarked how lucky the people were and that they had been so fortunate to get the stuff back. I told her the baby must have been grateful too because all its toiletries and creams were in the bag. She couldn’t understand how she had missed it, but didn’t feel so bad when I told her that she wasn’t the only one.
Rose also had her own happy story to tell. As a young girl of 19 in Palermo she met a young guy who had become smitten by her while he was visiting the land of his birth. His parents had taken him as a two year old to start a new life in the USA and he was having a rare visit home. He had only spent a few happy days with his new found love, but they stayed in constant touch by letter. They had spent a total of only 10 days together before he proposed to Rose. Rose accepted without hesitation, but had the difficult task of selling the deal to her father. With her mother’s help, her father gave in and so Rose and her husband have been together ever since in over 40 years of happy marriage.
Rose was so pleased with her experience of London and the missing bag story, that she was happy for me to write about it and take her picture. She has also added herself to my growing list of people that now call direct for a cab from the airport.