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Outside the Rings: The best driver in China

Outside the Rings: The best driver in China



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Of all the drivers working the Olympics, the most popular one, just might be the guy behind the wheel for the KSL van.

You see, without Li Fu Chun, we would've been late to a few stories, and might've missed a couple others.

He's not shy with his horn, and his maneuvers would probably get him noticed by a NASCAR scout back in America.

Fu Chun doesn't speak English and we don't speak Mandarin Chinese. However, it's amazing how you can communicate with someone when you have to. Finger pointing, grunts, and body motions seem to be universal. Don't think so? Next time you're in the passenger seat, tell your driver you want him to stop or slow down or just turn around without saying a word. Trust me, it's possible.

We've learned Fu Chun has a 10-year old daughter. In his normal life, he's a taxi cab driver. However, he applied to drive for the Olympics, and is making more in one month than he normally would make in several months.

He is worth every dollar. Or Yuan, in his case.

Normally, after dropping us off somewhere, he sits in the van and waits for us to return. We've brought him back a bottle of water or a snack, but it just didn't feel like it was enough.

So, lately, we've been inviting him to join us. Now, he's been with us to lunch, came with us inside an American's home who is living in Beijing, and even went shopping with us.

We've traded mailing addresses so we can keep in touch even after we leave China.

He says if we ever come back, he'll gladly be our tour guide. He would love to take us hiking, which he says is his hobby.

In return, I would love to have him and his family visit Utah and stay with me. I'd love to show him the Delicate Arch. The Bonneville Salt Flats. Mirror Lake. Maybe even take him to Antelope Island during the buffalo roundup.

I know I'm not the first one to write about Li Fu Chun at KSL. Both Tom Kirkland and our producer Chris Moore have written stories that include him. Just shows how much he means to us.

The other day, I got all six of us KSL-ers who are here in Beijing to pose for a picture with Fu Chun. I'm going to print them and put them in a frame as a gift for him when we leave.

The woman who works as a translator for the NBC transportation desk told us Fu Chun can't believe how nice us Americans are to him. He never thought we would want to take pictures with him, and can't believe we invited him to lunch.

I try to imagine him going home after work and telling his family about us.

He probably laughs when he mimics our finger pointing, grunts, and body motions.

Alex Cabrero

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