Being a taxi driver in China is one tough gig, but you wouldn’t think that from looking at the world-class smile that one Shenyang cab driver has been flashing in all of the 30,000 adorable selfies that he’s taken alongside his lucky as hell passengers over the past four years.
For the 60-something Teng Jiazhi, as for many of us, his first selfie was the most memorable. Teng told the Shenyang Evening News that it was a freezing cold day in China’s northeastern Liaoning Province more than 10 years ago. He picked up a couple that had been standing on the side of the road shivering for over an hour. They were so grateful that they offered to pay him some extra money. He refused, so they opted for a souvenir photo with them instead.
Teng says he was inspired by that encounter and in 2011 he set up a camera in his cab to take pictures together with his customers and help to brighten up their day. On average he picks up eighty passengers a day and around twenty of them agree to snap a selfie with him (Why would you ever turn him down?). In four years, he has built up a collection of 30,000 selfies with thousands of smiling passengers.
Later, he posts the selfies onto his Weibo account, where he has gained more than 100,000 followers. It’s the perfect place for those looking for some pure positive energy in a sea of snark. His fans lovingly call him “Uncle Teng” or “Brother Smile.” He adds captions to his selfies like “a smile is the best language in the world.” It’s literally nothing but smiles.
Of course, this being China and all, something as amazing as this can’t just be incredible, joyous and heartwarming, it also has to be a world record. Thus, earlier this week, Brother Smile was awarded a certificate for his record-breaking selfie collection. Look how happy he always is!
But Uncle Teng isn’t in the selfie-business for the accolades and awards. Here’s how he describes his personal mission: “I try my best to help my passengers with their troubles. All it takes is just a little chat, song or joke to make them happy again.”
He recalls one instance when an young women looking rather upset got in his taxi and refused his selfie request. To see what was wrong, he started talking to her. “I found out that she had just had a big fight with her mom, so I sang her an old song about how mothers always can’t help but worry.” Teng remembered. “She started crying when I finished my song and immediately called her mom to tell her she was sorry.”
Of course, she also then agreed to take a smiling selfie with Uncle Teng. This man is a miracle worker.
There is no way Brother Smile would ever cherry pick.
by Alex Linder
[Images via China News, CCTV & Weibo]