Shanghai Sunset- I am Cashless and Clueless!
Its a beautiful Sunday in Shanghai. After an hour of hunting for a Bureau du Change, I give up. My last option is to draw money from an ATM. I find one, Yes. Too bad, it offers no English instructions.
Am stranded. Am cashless and clueless. How do I get to the airport in time to catch my flight? I can’t even express my situation clearly in Mandarin. I have insufficient funds to pay a taxi.
Meantime, my temperature is rising, my palms are sweating, and my breath shortens. How do I get to Pudong airport now? Can’t afford to miss my flight! No way!
A few cabbies stop to pick me up, but can’t understand my broken Mandarin. Maybe my gestures are misinterpreted. Now, I am getting very restless and breathless.
An older cabman stops next to me, waves at me to get into the taxi without asking where. I jump in and say Pudong Airport but I have only RMB100. Unperturbed, he nodes OK.
Along the way, I we speak some broken Mandarin with lots of gestures. He smiles, then scribbles some Chinese characters for me. I am clueless, and I say, “Wo bu ju-tao.” He smiles at me. He is very gentle.
45 minutes later, we arrive the airport. He lets me take all my luggage to go change my Sing dollars into RMB. Meantime, he stands by the curb waiting for a stranger he just met; absolutely unruffled.
About 5 minutes later, I return with RMB 70 to complete the payment. I thank him so much for trusting me; a stranger from another world. I wish I could give him a bigger tip!
He smiles at me, steps back and salutes me. I take a step back and I bow to him; and yes, I return the salute. Its a sharp and crisp salute. Without hesitation, he salutes me back again.
I returned the favor twice or trice, knowing fully well, he is the one that deserves the salute, not me. He is not overcharge me, he trusted me, a stranger from another world. He was courteous…
If you ever see that old man who issued me Receipt no 131001460404 in Shanghai on Sunday 20 July 2014, please, tell him I salute him., again. Am sure there are few but more of him in every city.
Henceforth, I ‘ll salute any anyone embodying the values of that cabby. Some of them seldom get salutes, yet deserve them. I know cabbies who are teachers, cabbage collectors, coffee ladies, nurses and more.
I should ‘ve asked for a his autograph or a selfie to frame and hang on my wall. Ouch! Oh yes, he taught 3 great human qualities we all can re-ignite in ourselves everyday: Humility Trust & Faith in each other.