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Mayor's Hope Journal

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  • Heroes in Taxis and on Bicycles
    [Mayor Park Won Soon’s Administrative Journal 21]

  • SMG 1534

    What kinds of heroes does everyone worship these days? Wonder Woman? Superman? Or, for younger people, perhaps Iron Man? Today I’m going to introduce the real heroes of Seoul: a hero in a taxi and a hero who rides a bicycle. The hero in a taxi is Mr. Son Bok-hwan, who will be 67 years old this year. He’s a veteran with 42 years’ experience of driving his taxi. Incorrect road signs, unnoticed by passersby, are found and corrected by this hero. He’s been performing these gallant deeds ever since 1980. That means he’s corrected many hundreds of signs. Son Bok-hwan’s heroism had simple beginnings. “If something’s confusing to me as a Seoul taxi driver, then how are other people going to cope with it? I discover something that’s difficult to me, think about how others will be inconvenienced by it, and take action for the good of society.” That’s the mark of a true hero. He deserves a warm round of applause at the very least!

    And now for our bicycle-riding hero, Lee Min-ho, who will be 24 years old this year. He’s become quite famous now as the ‘arrow symbol hero’. I came across him in real life when <mr. won soon’s seoul story> was getting under way. He’s a great character. His heroic tale started last November.

    Mr. Lee Min-ho thought about how bus users would be inconvenienced by there being no actual indicator of direction on the bus stop route maps on which the names of bus stops are listed. Of course, Mr. Lee Min-ho wasn’t deterred by his personal inconvenience. This hero began with the thought: ‘Will it be inconvenient for others?’ and started putting red stickers on the maps, indicating the bus direction, for which he earned the online nickname ‘the young arrow-symbol man’. He puts the arrow symbols on the maps while riding around the city on his bicycle. It’s been estimated that he’s left his mark on around 700 bus stops so far.

    But Mr. Lee Min-ho, how about this? The Seoul Bus App is loved by many people. (Another hero appeared in the last Mr. Park Won Soon’s Seoul Story. According to the creator Mr. Yu Ju-wan, the city of Seoul is quite rich with heroes.) There are around 30,000 bus stops in inner city Seoul.

    Mr. Lee Min-ho, don’t worry. Seoul will perform this task with you. This work is actually something that the city should have done, and done properly, some time ago. It’s a problem that has needlessly caused worry to residents. However, this is not a request for you to place arrow symbols at the 30,000 bus stops. Mr. Lee Min-ho, my wish is that you will gain employment at a company doing lots of voluntary work. Are there no companies looking for a great hero like this?

    My citizens, if you meet our heroes, then please give them your support. And please continue looking for other hidden heroes. They should be regarded as public treasures by all of us.