We read about so many taxi horror stories. How about a heartwarming one?
I tend to be a very forgetful person. No, actually I am a forgetful person. Time after time after time I have left valuables behind, sometimes in the worst of places. I’ve lost a cell phone, a camera, a $400 United voucher (back in the days when they were printed on paper), a wallet, and not just one, not just two, but three genuine Rayban sunglasses. I even almost lost my passport on the way from Armenia to Turkey.
(That’s why I now purchase knock-off sunglasses in bulk)
Our Turkish flight Istanbul landed at Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar Es Salaam at 2:30a. It was 3:00a by the time we had exited the aircraft, purchased visas, and cleared immigration.
It was late, we were tired, and we climbed into a taxi outside of immigration, hoping that we would not be ripped off. The flat rate for foreigners is $30 from the airport into Dar Es Salaam, but Wikitravel suggested that by paying in local currency, you could secure the local rate — 30,000 Tanzanian Schillings– which is about $14. That worked — the driver was very nice and agreed to the rate.
It was not a long ride to the Hyatt Regency and by about 3:20a we pulled in. I hopped out of the backseat to grab my bag from the trunk and headed inside to check-in after tipping the driver. Check-in took mere moments and my friend Denny and I headed upstairs to our room.
Inside, as is customary, I reached for my camera to take pictures of the room in preparation for writing a review.
Only it wasn’t there.
A sinking feeling came over.
I had left it on the floor of the taxi…
Of course this isn’t the first time I lost this camera. Last time I had left it beneath my seat on a San Francisco to Vancouver flight.
Thankfully I got it back last time thanks to the kind United agents in Vancouver. I figured this time it was long gone.
I headed immediately back downstairs in hopes that taxi driver might still be there.
As the elevator doors opened, there was the taxi driver holding my camera bag!
I was so elated! Taking the camera I extended my hand and he clasped it and gave me a bear hug. Wow!
At that point, I could have opened my wallet and handed him more money, but I felt that would have been patronizing — as in, let me pay you for not stealing my bag. I think I showed him more respect through my verbal gratitude than in giving him money. I had already tipped him nearly 40% earlier, which may also explain why he brought the bag back.
And so my camera saga has a happy conclusion again and we add a mark to the honest cab tally…in Dar es Salaam of all places.
Read More of my Tanzania Trip Report
Detour: My Other Africa Trip Report
Review: Lufthansa Welcome Lounge Frankfurt
Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt
Frankfurt to Istanbul in Turkish Airlines A330 Business Class
Review: Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge Istanbul
Istanbul to Dar Es Salaam on Turkish Airlines 737-900 Business Class
How to Obtain a Visa on Arrival in Tanzania