A Beijing taxi driver and his lifelong dream

By Gong Yingchun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, March 6, 2013
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"My passengers are like my family. I like chatting with them, giving them cheerfulness and top-notch service." said He Jianliang.

Native Beijinger He Jianliang, 51, has been a taxi driver for over 14 years now. He is quite skilled at making small talk with his passengers despite never having received any formal education or mastered any rhetorical expressions. Most of He's passengers will feel at ease when they get in his taxi because He always sings songs for them, which brightens up the trip every time.

He Jianliang and his taxi. [Photo by Gong Yingchun/China.org.cn]

He always keeps a notebook, like a guestbook, in his taxi for his passengers to sign. Almost all passengers will write down some kind words in it, even though it's not mandatory. It is the sincere respect that inspires He's passengers to convey their best wishes to this kind-hearted driver.

He considers his collection of guestbook one of the most valuable things in his life and will never allow himself make mistakes in safeguarding them. "They are more important than my car because if my car got lost, I could buy another one. If these books were to disappear, I would never be able to see those kindnesses my passengers left me again," He said.

Three years have passed since He's first guestbook came into being in 2010. Thousands of passengers have left messages in his overall 20 notebooks. These people come from different countries, have different jobs, and were headed for different destinations, but all of them have at one point taken He's taxi and shared with him the ups and downs of their lives.

Some of He's guestbooks. [Photo by Gong Yingchun/China.org.cn]

Like many others, He also experienced some confusion and disorientation during the early years of his working life. He worked as manual laborer for at least six years due to his lack of educational qualifications. He was miserable from his job carrying bricks and maintaining water pipes all the time.

Then in 1984, one single event completely changed He's life. He's father once begged a young driver to help move some pieces of tall furniture with his car, but the young man dismissed the request. Deeply distressed at the treatment his father had received from the young driver, He decided to become a driver himself. "I would never treat the elderly like that if I were a driver," He recalled.

He finally set a goal for himself. However, the tuition for learning how to drive was too much for He's parents. In order to grant their son's wish, He's mother sold ice cream in summer, under the burning sun, for months, and his father saved his salary for one whole year. "I owe my parents a lot," He said.


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