Next time you're in a taxi - make that EVERY time - always get the taxi number. Whether this is the medallion number for that taxi, the license plate number, the name of the driver from their taxi certificate on display - get something that identifies that car and/or driver.
Because every day hundreds of taxi riders (travelers and locals) forget luggage, cell phones, wallets, glasses and more in taxi cabs.
And every day, many of these owners of now-lost items have no idea how to identify the taxi they were in.
They might have handed cash over to the taxi driver and not gotten a receipt. Or been handed one of those fill-in-the-blank receipts that the driver tore off of a pad without filling in any of the details. Or they have tossed the receipt away, the receipt that most likely did have the taxi number on it.
And worse yet, their lost item had no identification on it! Laptops are notorious for not having the owner's name identified (and with password protection, it's not easy to get into the laptop). Phones are the same.
While wallets, passports and suitcases "should" be easily identifiable, looking at the list of the Chicago lost and found below shows that so many of these items have not been returned to their rightful owners.
Precautions to ensure you never lose an item into the taxi lost and found abyss:
- Take a photo with your smartphone of the taxi number or license plate tag
- Always ask for a receipt and ensure it has the taxi number on it (or write it on the receipt)
- Checked for dropped or left-behind items before leaving the taxi. Check the seat, the floor and the seat-back pocket if you used it. Also check that all bags in the trunk of the car are in your possession.
- Tag all of your items with your name and how to contact you. I have my business card taped securely to the bottom of my laptop, my iPad and my iPhone. I also have a luggage tag on my laptop bag as well as two of them attached to my luggage.
- Set up 'Find my iPhone' for any iOS devices you have or Android's Device Manager to help you locate any lost phones, tablets, or Mac laptops.
- If you're sharing a taxi with a friend or colleague, both of you should check to be sure nothing is left behind that belongs to either of you. This is especially helpful if one of you may be more intoxicated than the other after an evening of fun.
If you do leave an item behind in a taxi, take action with as much information as you do have. Contact the taxi company (if you know it) and give them the taxi number, date, approximate time of your ride and a description of the item left behind.
Oops, but what if you don't know any of this?
Here are the lost and found websites for a few cities, and you can Google for the taxi lost and found sites for the city you need:
- New York City's Yellow Taxi Lost and Found.
- Chicago's Taxi Lost and Found. Just look at all of the items that have been reported lost - Black Travelpro suitcase, one black coach high heel, a U.S. passport, and countless laptops, wallets, and iPhones.
- London's Lost and Found, not only for taxis but also for buses and the underground.
- The phone number to call if you have left something inside a taxi cab in Las Vegas is 702.668.4000. Vegas has 16 taxicab companies so good luck getting your lost property back in this city.
Now you can see how important it is to have some identifying number of each and every taxi that you are in!
Please share this post with every taxi rider you know. Let's put these Lost and Found websites out of business.