Man Leaves $13K Worth of Camera Gear in a NYC Taxi, Gets It Back

A photographer’s worst nightmare happened to YouTube filmmaker Casey Neistat recently. After taking a taxi after a long 18-hour work day and flight, Neistat accidentally forgot all of his luggage — and $13,238.86 worth of camera gear — in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Among the equipment lost was a Canon 5D Mark III kit ($4300), a 24-70mm lens ($1600), and about $550 worth of memory cards — equipment necessary for Neistat to make a living.

The next day, Neistat got a call from the police department informing him that the taxi driver had turned in the gear. Surprised by the honesty, Neistat went to thank the driver in person and rewarded him with a massive tip.

He also decided to share the story with the world by creating an op-ed video for the New York Times:

Thus, my fortunes rest on the strength of the moral compass of whoever has found my property. Each time a stranger does the right thing, and returns something to its rightful owner, my faith in humanity is restored.

Thanks for sharing, Neistat — our faith in humanity is restored as well!

Taxi Lost and Found [New York Times]

Image credit: Screenshot from video by Casey Neistat/New York Times

  • gabe sturdevant

    How do you forget your shoes? Esp in New York. (kidding) Awesome of the taxi driver to return, and glad a photographer can spend another day doing what they love.

  • Mansgame

    well that was heartwarming.

  • βιnku

    It really warms my heart when people do “right things”.

    The world is better with those honest human beings.

  • Wallerus

    Casey’s videos are so good, they make the internets fast!!!

  • JoeJP

    Do we have any independent confirmation that this actually happened?

    I mean, Casey Neistat has videos & services to sell, and he’s a veteran self-promoter (do a search).

    I see he managed to get an opinion piece in the NYT, but that’s a different process. Oddly, site searches at the NY Post & Daily News yielded nothing for me.

    Something smells funny here. This may be much less heart-warming than it seems.

  • JoeJP

    Searched around a bit more.

    I think this story is fake.

  • Joe Gunawan

    It’s on New York Times. I doubt that they would allow the article to run without vetting it:

  • JoeJP

    Note that it’s only an opinion piece in the NYT- not a news item.

    How do you explain the lack of news coverage? Neistat has spent a decade pursuing Internet buzz.

    I’m actually quite willing to be proven wrong. Can you show me hard news coverage? This is the kind of story the NY Post & Daily News are normally all over.

    Until I see credible news coverage, this is fake.

  • JoeJP

    I think the far more compelling story here would be the one about how an Internet fame-seeker manufactured a story, and succeeded widely.

    I hope someone gets on it…

  • JoeJP

    Sorry about the line breaks- apparently, when I pasted the text in, my text editor didn’t include the correct delimiters.

  • JoeJP

    Since my jumbled original is not very intelligible, I’ll try pasting in a clearer post:

    Why is the cab driver never identified as anything but “Mohammed”? (Good choice for hiding a ringer in the world of NYC taxi drivers.) Why does Mr. Neistat solicit so little information from “Mohammed” when he’s on-camera? “Mohammed” is, after all, at the heart of this story. But his interview is fleeting and very non-specific. (We actually hear more dialog from other, unrelated taxi drivers.) Very suspicious..Plus, the NY Post & NY Daily News didn’t touch this. It would be a classic NYC human interest story. Why no coverage?.Note that the documentarian (Casey Neistat) has a long history of viral self-promotion (as Google will reveal)..*** Physical evidence: ***.Neistat displays his taxi receipt (twice) in the video, but the receipt information conflicts with his other footage. You can see screenshot stills from his video footage in this image: . used Photoshop to enhance contrast, but you can refer to the original 720P HD video (available at to confirm the image’s integrity. The three parts of this jpeg originate at the following elapsed times in the video (starting at upper-right, clockwise):.01:47 receipt01:53 receipt detail04:06 taxi .The taxi medallion number on the cab itself (“1Y89″) does NOT match the digit (“MED # 3*** “) visible on the purported receipt. (The first digit on the receipt- “3” should match the first digit on the cab- “1”.).** Also curious ** The date and the medallion entries on the receipt are conveniently scratched/obscured. Hmmm.

  • JoeJP

    Argh. This CMS apparently doesn’t like native Mac delimiters.

    If you type directly into the text box, all is well. Otherwise…


  • rtfe

    you should get busy doing some busy work or something

  • rtfe

    you should write your congressman

  • DM

    Awesome, made me smile, made me feel good for mr lost baggage, muhommod and for humanity. Great story. 3 cheers for the man who has escaped poverty to live the American dream. We need more people like him to realise what’s good and right in this world. Touched.

  • The Prospectus (Blog)

    It warms my hear too.
    Life is sometimes good. (Sometimes.)
    Oh, life with unexpected kindness!

    I talked about this story (and how I related to it) here @ PERSONAL ▬ 13K, Costco, Life and unexpected kindness

  • doubtingthomas

    Damn it. Just once I’d like to see an internet story and be able to accept it as is, with out doubt, a bone fide good story. Why doesn’t the story focus more on Mohammed, the taxi driver?

  • doubtingthomas

    Damn it. Just once I’d like to see an internet story and be able to accept it as is, with out doubt, a bone fide good story. Why doesn’t the story focus more on Mohammed, the taxi driver?

  • small spring

    a good story to advertise free