A Kyoto taxi driver has been displaying a fresh flower every day for ten years.
Yesterday in Kyoto I got into a taxi that had a pink camellia flower, or tsubaki, in a small water glass on the dashboard. The flower had been cut and mounted carefully with a branch and a couple of leaves. The driver appeared to be in his mid-sixties. I told him that I liked the flower. He thanked me, and then he told me a wonderful story.
He’s been driving a taxi for many years. He used to keep a bottle of water in a holder on his dashboard. One day ten years ago his wife gave him a flower in a water glass. She told him that it would give him something to enjoy as he drove around the city all day.
He put the flower in his taxi mostly to please his wife, but he discovered that it changed the atmosphere in his car. It made him feel calm, and that day he had more conversions with customers than he had had the previous week. Everyone was more relaxed, and many people admired the flower.
Since that day ten years ago his taxi has had one fresh flower every day. It hasn’t been easy for him. Flowers must be small enough for the water glass and young enough to keep their petals, and in summer it is hard to find good flowers. In the first few years he thought about quitting several times, but he has continued day after day.
He’s learned to select and mount more than 100 kinds of flowers. He keeps notes on each one so he can talk about it with customers. His notes are on a small piece of paper just below the speedometer. He carries photo albums with pictures of his flowers. When we stopped at a red light, he showed me an album with about 20 photos of different flowers.
I’ve always enjoyed talking with taxi drivers, but this man inspired me. In his own unique way he has been making the world a little more beautiful with one flower every day for ten years.