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$4 million good deed caps Newark cabbie’s career

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When virtuoso violinist Philippe Quint realized he’d left his violin in the minivan that shuttled him to his home in Manhattan from Newark Liberty International Airport in April, he collapsed. The violin was irreplaceable, a 1723 Stradivari “Ex-Kiesewetter” on loan from New York philanthropists and valued at $4 million.

Quint called 911 and the Port Authority of New York. Shortly after, he was sitting in the Newark Taxi Commission’s office, flipping through photos of taxis.

The van’s driver, Mohamed Khalil, parked the van for the night, unaware of what was stashed in the back. In the morning, another employee took the van on a run before Khalil got word that the Newark Cab Association was looking for a missing violin. Khalil, who emigrated from Egypt in 1980, found the violin and arranged to meet Quint at the airport.

The violinist “sat on the floor and cried,” Khalil said. Khalil received a city medal from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who called the cabbie an “extraordinary, heroic person.”

In May, Quint traveled back to the airport to play a half-hour mini-concert as a thank-you to the Newark cabbies gathered in the taxi holding garage. Then Khalil, who had planned for months to retire that day, picked up his final fare by driving Quint home.

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