Chinese Cab Driver Brightens Up Passengers’ Day with Adorable Selfies

Taxi driver Teng Jiazhi, from Shenyang city in north China, is probably the world’s greatest selfie enthusiast. He was taking photos of himself with his passengers long before selfies became a social phenomenon, simply as a way to brighten up their day. Fondly known as “Uncle Teng”, the friendly cab driver has amassed a collection of over 30,000 selfies in the last 5 years.

Teng revealed that he came up with the unique idea ten years ago, when he picked up a couple of tourists on a winter day. “They had been standing in the cold for more than an hour for a taxi,” he recalled. “When they got in my car, they kept thanking me and offered tips. But I could not take the extra money. Before they dropped off, they wanted to take a photo with me. The gratitude they had was very comforting and that photo was the first selfie I took with my passenger.”

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The experience touched him deeply, and in 2011, he decided to set up a camera in his cab. Since then, he has taken pictures with thousands of passengers from all over the world, most of whom are more than willing to pose for him. He picks up about 80 passengers a day on average, and at least 20 agree to take selfies with him. Lots of them have said that his smile is infectious, and that riding in his taxi always brightens up their day.

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Teng is passionate about making people happy. “Why not live every day with a jolly mood?” he asked. “I try my best to help my passengers with their troubles. It just takes a chat, some sing along or a joke to make them happy again.”

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He recalled an incident that occurred a few years ago – an upset woman got into his taxi and refused to take a selfie with him. So he tried talking to her to find out what the problem was. When he realised that she’d had a fight with her mom, he sang her a folk song about how mothers always worry. “She started sobbing after I finished my song and immediately called her mum to say sorry,’ Teng said. “Before she dropped off, she gracefully took a selfie with me and told me that it was a good day.”

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Teng first attracted  the attention of the media a few years ago, when he reached the 5,500 selfies mark. He then set up a Weibo account to post his selfies online, where he now has thousands of followers. He soon set himself a challenge to reach 10,000 selfies, which he achieved in no time at all. Since then, the media has been following his progress, keeping a track of his selfie count. “I have met many taxi passengers who recognised me from the news. I particularly enjoy people calling me Uncle Teng because it is such an intimate name,” he said.

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Uncle Teng was recently honored for his commitment to put a smile on people’s faces, during the ‘Shanghai Big World Jinisi Record’ exhibit, which featured 6,402 selfies of happy customers handpicked from his collection by Teng himself. He was even awarded a certificate for his record-breaking selfie collection. He hopes that when people see the collection, they’ll realise what a happy place Shenyang is. Meanwhile, the 60-something Teng has no plans to stop taking selfies, even after he retires.

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Sources: Vision Times, Daily Mail

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