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The hero of the story: Dumbledore and the London taxi driver


Written by Chris Hewitt

Ask you taxi driver for a story next time you thumb a ride

This story happened to me when I was in London recently.

I was in the back of a black cab and Steve, my driver, was chatting away like London cabbies do. He talked about his work and soon told me that around that time of day much of his custom is driving nannies and their care to the local primary schools.

One day a little boy called Josh, refused to get out. In fact, he had coiled his little body into the corner of the cab and was gripping so tightly that the nanny couldn’t free him. ‘Before long, the nanny asked me to help’, said Steve, ‘but I thought no way, I may end up in court knowing my luck. I told her to go into the school and get one of the teachers to help.’

Soon after the teacher came, but she didn’t want to use physical force either – Josh clearly wasn’t going to budge. Before long the head teacher came and still the boy stood fast.

At this point, Steve got out of his cab while the teachers were talking through their next move and quietly sat down with Josh in the back of the cab.

‘Do you like Harry Potter young man?’ he said.

‘I love Harry Potter,’ said Josh.

‘Who’s your favourite character?’

‘Dumbledore’

‘Dumbledore? I know Dumbledore. He’s a very good friend of mine actually. I give him a lift in my cab every couple of weeks’

Josh looked up at Steve, intrigued.

‘I tell you what,’ said Steve, ‘if you go into your school now like a good boy, I will ask Dumbledore to write you a letter. Would you like that?’

Josh relaxed his grip, entranced by Steve’s question. Then he suddenly uncoiled himself, stood up and ran towards the waiting teachers shouting ‘yes please’ as he did so.

Because Steve has young children himself – also Harry Potter fans – he remembered they had a letter from Dumbledore. So he rang his wife and asked her to make a copy. Then the next morning Steve put Dumbledore’s letter in an envelope, wrote Josh’s name on the outside and delivered it to the little boy’s house.

Such is the power of story, I thought. Seems like the world needs more people like Steve.