A taxi-driver hero who returned a very expensive computer to one of my friends

18 апреля 2012, 16:02

Everybody has heroes.

In the military arena, some of mine are American Generals Douglas MacArthur and George Patton and the Red Army commander Marshal Georgy Zhukov, all of whom played key roles in winning World War II.

In the political arena, my heroes include Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.

I’ve just added to my list of heroes a “little guy,” 31-year-old Galym, who gave a friend of mine a ride in his car a couple of weeks ago.

The friend, Assel Tleof, had flagged down a passing car to see a friend. After negotiating a fee with the driver, she settled back in her seat for the ride.

In a few minutes, she got out. But with her mind on other things, she left her expensive MacIntosh notebook  computer in the car.

When Assel realized the computer was missing, the first thing she did was return to the coffee shop where she was before she flagged down the car. The MacIntosh wasn’t there.

Then “I managed to get access to the street cameras” outside the coffee shop, she said. Her hope was that one of the cameras would have footage of the car she had flagged down. If it did, the footage might include a license plate she could use to track down the driver.

But the footage didn’t show the car, said Assel, who added that she “didn’t even know the kind of car, as it was dark, and I didn’t have any information about who that taxi guy could be.”


At that moment, she said, the crestfallen Assel gave up hope of recovering the computer.

What she didn’t know was that the car driver was a great guy who was intent on giving the MacIntosh back to its owner.

Almost two weeks later, when she was sitting at her desk at the office of the United Nations Development Program in Astana, a security guard in the lobby called to say she had a visitor.

Standing before Assel in the lobby “with a smile” was Galym, his hands around her MacIntosh.

He had taken a lot of trouble to track her down, she said.

Galym had opened the computer and found her name, then checked to see if she were on Facebook. She was, and her Facebook profile listed the organization where she worked.

Then he “just came to my office, and that’s how I got my Macbook back,” Assel said. “I was ready to hug him and give him a million smiles.”

Assel, who is a communications associate with the United Nations Development Program, insisted on giving Galym a reward for his good deed, but he said no several times. Finally, because she was so insistent, he accepted a token payment.

Galym, who told Assel that his day job was in information technology, said he had dreamed for years of having the high-powered MacIntosh she had.

Several of his friends said he should keep the computer, which was worth thousands of dollars, or sell it instead of returning it.

But Galym told her he was a devout Muslim – and a person of faith ought not to go against Islam’s teachings.

Galym then told her that he had another motivation for returning the computer.

Assel, who was one of my students in the Master’s in Journalism program at KIMEP a few years ago, is an excellent writer in both Russian and English. In fact, she won a fellowship that I put up for top students there.

In trying to learn her identity, Galym had stumbled across some of her writings on the computer.

“He liked them a lot,” Assel said, “so he wanted me to keep writing – and obviously I needed a laptop for this.”

Assel, who is in her mid-20s, has been working on a book of non-fiction essays that she describes as “not something from the mind but real-life sensual experiences of a little girl in this big world.”

In fact, the day she flagged down Galym, she had worked for hours in the coffee shop on additional material for the book.

She’s been writing her stories, which deal with “love, relationships and some other philosophical matters,” for three to four years, she said.

If you read Russian, you can check out her musings at the Web site http://bolashak.kz/ru/blogs/blogs/user/766.

But let’s get back to Galym for a minute.

His act of honesty and selflessness adds a little sunshine to a world that is too often dark and cynical.

So let me thank you for your heroism, Galym. God will reward you for doing the right thing – you can be sure of it.

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