CIIE a business boon for local taxi driver

Big companies aren't the only ones finding opportunities. One hospitable cabbie scored an epic round-trip fare between Shanghai and Hangzhou from two Dutch exhibitors.

For taxi driver Xia Yongxing, from Haibo Taxi Firm, a few words in English and a charming smile paid off handsomely in an epic round-trip fare to Hangzhou.

CIIE a business boon for local taxi driver
Ti Gong

Taxi driver Xia Zhengxing's hospitality won him a 1,969 yuan fare, for a round trip between Hangzhou and Shanghai.

It all started on the afternoon of November 5, when Xia arrived at the parking lot on Huaxiang Road, which is assigned for picking up passengers from the China International Import Expo.

Soon, two white males and an Asian woman got into his cab.

“Hello! Welcome to take my taxi. Where are you going?” Xia said in English with a smile.

Xia only attended an English training class a week ago where he learned simple conversations and phrases about directions.

The passengers were Dutch exhibitors looking for business opportunities in the LED industry. The Asian woman, surnamed Zhou, was their interpreter.

Zhou told Xia that they were going to Shanghai Tower for business negotiations. Xia chatted with the passengers along the trip. One of them became interested in the small tags placed in front of Xia on the instrument panel.

They were a May 1 Labor Medal, which the city issues to exceptional workers, and a medal issued by the Ministry of Public Security for Xia’s help when police officers were chasing drug dealers in 2012.

“Most passengers don’t really pay much attention to these medals, but they know the tags mean that I’m a trustworthy driver,” Xia said. “I guess it was quite novel for foreigners to hear stories like that.”

The two businessmen told Xia they were going to Hangzhou to negotiate with another company on November 6 and they asked Xia to drive them there and back.

“That was a good chance to show our hospitality and service to foreign visitors,” Xia said. “Besides, it was a great deal.”

They left Shanghai at 9am on Wednesday morning and returned at 6pm. According to Xia's taximeter, the round trip was 490 kilometers and the fare was 1,969 yuan (US$282).

“I eventually charged them 1,600 yuan,” Xia said. “I deducted the time while I waited and charged my car.”

The Dutch businessmen will leave Shanghai next Monday, and they've already booked Xia to bring them to the airport.

“They said they will be frequent visitors to Shanghai and they will ask me to drive them while they are in town,” Xia laughed.

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