A tale of the lost glove and the efficiency of the 311 system

Ross Sandler, Center for New York City Law Director

Returning home at 11 p.m. from a charitable fundraiser in a yellow cab on a Thursday night with my wife Alice Sandler, I lost my right glove. It fell to the floor of the cab as I paid the fare, retrieved the receipt, gathered my umbrella and shouldered my briefcase. I discovered that the glove had disappeared when I arrived home.

My wife Alice read the two-inch-long printed taxi receipt. At the bottom were the words “TO CONTACT TLC Dial 3-1-1.” TLC meant the Taxi & Limousine Commission.

Alice dialed 3-1-1, said the word “Taxi,” and was immediately routed to a person. The person at the other end, after hearing about the lost glove, asked for the yellow cab medallion number which was printed at the top of the taxi receipt.  On giving the medallion number, the 311person said “Take down this telephone number. It is the number of the garage of the yellow cab in which you lost your glove.” Alice called the number – a 718 area code number. The garage manager answered and asked for the driver number (also printed on the receipt). He then asked for our contact number and said that he would contact the driver. Ten minutes later the driver called. He had the glove and would return it in ten minutes. And he did.

Driver Said Nfaoui, TLC driver number 5284884, delivered the glove to us while his new fare enjoyed the story as much as we did. The entire process of retrieving the glove took 30 minutes.

The 311 System is a marvel of City efficiency. Over 5.9 million people have called the 311 System through October of this fiscal year. Of those calls, 11,450 were from people who lost property in a yellow or green cab. About half of those who called had their receipt with the medallion and driver numbers and presumably had the good fortune of getting their lost property back.

The 311 System began in 2003. It provides quick and easy access to City services and has transformed how people interact with government. It’s a great success.

A hearty thank you goes to the Bloomberg and de Blasio Administrations for creating and nurturing the 311 system. And an equally heart felt thank you to Said Nfaoui for the quick return of my lost glove.

Ross Sandler

One thought on “A tale of the lost glove and the efficiency of the 311 system

  1. A pleasant story with a happy ending, but I think it is an exception.
    I aver that in New York city, lost is usually gone forever:
    Gloves, glasses, canes, scarves, hats.

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