I made a small mistake a couple of weeks ago, which resulted in my laptop and headphones being left in a bag in a yellow cab. Rarely do I flag a cab down or pay cash, however on this fine evening I decided to do both! To top it all off I didn't take a receipt from the nice man, so I had absolutely no idea of knowing how to find him. I needed my things back, so I spent some time tracking down how to do it.
This is where the Taxi and Limousine Commission come in and it turns out it IS possible to get your items back.
First thing to do when you leave something in a New York taxi
First things first, head to the Lost & Found page on the T&LC website and follow the steps for whether you do or do not know the medallion number (it would be listed on your receipt if you took one).
From there, you will receive a report number and after a couple of days someone will call you and follow up your lost property report. They will want to know:
- Approximately where you were picked up;
- Approximately where you were dropped off;
- What time you were picked up (and dropped off);
- How much you paid for the taxi; and
- What method you used to pay.
With all of these, your cab can be tracked down and if you're especially lucky they will narrow it down to a single car.
Who to contact if you left something in an NYC taxi
From there, you get the number of a garage and you can follow up your property yourself.
After chatting to my amazing driver, Mal nuhu Abbas (who I want to thank AGAIN for his amazing-ness), he wanted me to ensure that everyone knows:
The vast majority of drivers do not steal. If they find property in their cabs they will either keep a hold of it, return it to their garage, or return it to one of two police precincts (listed below). If your property does go missing from their cab, it is normally because the next person after you picks it up and takes it with them. Most drivers are honest, hard-working people who just want to help.Mal nuhu Abbas – Hero Taxi Driver
So thank you, Mal nuhu Abbas, and good luck if you too left your property in the back of a cab!
Which police precincts to call if you left something in a taxi
If you aren't having any lucky with the T&LC you can try these two numbers to find your property too (most lost property returned to police should go through these two precincts):
- (212) 826-3211 – 76th Precinct Brooklyn
- (212) 570-4821 – Central Park Precinct
I wrote all of this on my returned laptop!