The Reckoner!

A Taxi Driver Returned My Lost Phone. Did I give him enough money in return?

Here's the story:

A couple of weeks ago, I called a cab from a dispatch company to drive me crosstown.  I promptly lost my phone (a Samsung Galaxy Nexus) in the backseat -- it must've fallen out of my pocket as I was getting out -- which I didn't realize until I checked my pockets a few minutes later.

Since it was a dispatched cab (thank goodness), I managed to track down the cab number and the driver, who had indeed found my phone and was nice enough to give it back to me when I swung by the next day at a cab stand where he was posted.

As a sign of gratitude, I gave him $20 for saving me the hassle (not to mention the cost) of getting a new phone.

Since then, two friends -- entirely independently of one-another -- have told me that I fouled up.

  • Friend 1 said that I shouldn't have given him anything.  His reasoning is that I turned the cab driver's random act of kindness into a mercenary quid pro quo, and thus sucked out the joy of the act from him.
  • Friend 2 said that I didn't give him enough money.  The phone itself costs $300 to buy new, and he clearly went out of his way to find it and keep it safe for me.  He also could've just pretended he hadn't found it and pawned it off.  Per this friend, I should've given him $50, at least.

What I want to know is: what do you think, dear Reckonauts?  Did I handle this situation correctly?  Or did I foul up by being high OR low in what I gave the cab driver?

Reckoning Results!
You did fine!
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Stop beating yourself up!
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Reckoning Comments!

$20 is a little lean.  I was in a very similar situation with my iPhone 4 last year, and I gave the cab driver $50.  Again, it's not just that he saved you $300 for the phone -- there's a lot of hassle he saved you by finding it and being honest about it as well.

I definitely don't agree with your friend about turning this into a quid pro quo situation.  The cab driver could've refused the money, and I think a cash gift is being polite and following proper etiquette in this case.

Did you give him the $20 out of genuine gratitude? Then you did fine. 

As far as I know, there are no guidelines for giving out rewards.  If the cabbie didn't insult you over the $20, don't sweat it.


'Please, what is this takin' the joy out of kindness thing????

The cab driver obviously has good character, so what is wrong with showing him your appreciation for going to the trouble of finding, holding and returning your phone? If anything it showed him that there are people who are appreciative of good deeds and acts of kindness. Everyone likes to be appreciated.

I would have given him $50.00.

1. I would have given him $50 also.

2. Although we don't know if he had turned it in before you tracked down the cab number or after, and he couldn't USE the phone anyway since the phone serial number would be deactivated, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was a nice thing for him to do. 

3. I recently had my car battery die while I was gassing up. They couldn't charge it near the pumps, so two of the nice attendants pushed the car back to a safe place to charge, and one was about to run to get his car when this guy with his little girl in the truck swooped over and popped open his hood, took his cables out and did the deal. 

4. I thanked him and handed him $10 because of his kindness. At first he declined and said very nicely that it wasn't necessary, but I insisted he buy something for his little girl and he was really appreciative.

I also tipped the attendants. I felt like a good little elf, running around tipping everyone LOL. The way I see it, I was on my way to picking up my grandbabe from the bus and would have been late waiting for a tow truck to get it done. 

I love it when my faith in people is reinforced.

Probably TMI, but, oh well :-)


Oh, and I voted "don't beat yourself up" because at least you tipped him.

The Reckoner!