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Cab driver returns stradivarius violin.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of April 21, Philippe Quint, a Grammy-nominated classical violinist, and a companion arrived from Dallas at Newark Liberty International Airport. The pair boarded a minivan taxi owned and operated by Mohammed Khalil for a $52 ride across the Hudson River to Battery Park City in Manhattan.

After Khalil had dropped them off at their destination and pulled away, a sickening realization hit maestro Quint: he had left a 285-year-old Stradivarius violin, worth four million dollars, on the back seat! What's more, the violin did not even belong to Quint--wealthy Chicago philanthropists Clement and Karen Arrison, who often lend fine instruments from their valuable collection to promising musicians, had generously loaned it to him!

Obtaining help from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Newark Taxicab Division, Quint tracked Khalil down at the "taxi stack" outside the airport terminal where cabs line up, and Khalil retrieved the precious instrument from the rear seat.

Falling to his knees and crying tears of joy, Quint gave Khalil a $100 reward, after which Khalil offered to drive the violinist and his instrument back to New York in his personal car.

However, Philippe Quint was not finished showing his appreciation. On May 7, the violinist put on a half-hour performance for about 50 of Newark Liberty Airport's cabbies, playing five selections. Some of the enthusiastic drivers did impromptu dances as he played.

"It was so pleasing to see people dancing--that never happens," Mr. Quint told the New York Times. "These people, they work so hard, I doubt they get a chance to get out to Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center."

"If one cabby does something good, we feel like we all do something good," said Patrick Cosmeus, a taxi driver who attended the concert. "But everything we find, we always return it."
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Title Annotation:THE GOODNESS OF AMERICA; Mohammed Khalil
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 23, 2008
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