Mansour Khani, a driver who works for a ride-hailing app in Tehran these days, has grabbed the headlines for his creative way of amusing the passengers.
Mansour has created a bookshelf in his car, and gives his passengers the chance to use the time in the car for reading.
His move has been so impressive that prominent Brazilian contemporary author Paulo Coelho, whose novels are very popular in Iran, has shared photos of Mansour Khani’s page in his Instagram page.
What follows are excerpts of his remarks in a recent interview with Aftab-e Yazd newspaper:
I work at Snapp (ride-hailing service in Iran), but that’s not my main job. I am a workshop supervisor in a factory, but I work at Snapp in the afternoons or on the days the factory is closed. I’ve been doing this for almost four years. I was interested in reading books, so from the very first day I took some books to the car. The form of my car, which is different today, changed over time. I made a bookshelf in the car and put the books inside it and gradually the number of books increased.
I put signs in and out of the car to grab the attention of people and invite them to read books. My goal at first was to change the beliefs of people who get in my car. I wanted to tell them that a driver can do more than just observing traffic rules, and he can also do a cultural job.
One of the goals I pursue is to change this belief in people’s minds, and to continue to encourage people to read. I give them a ride and then I try to treat them with a chocolate. Also during the ride, I ask them if they are interested in reading books. Or ask them the reasons for reading a book till we get to our destination.
Inside the car, I have a set of books that are free. I give them to people on the condition that they pass them onto someone else. I also have a series of books that are for sale and if anyone would like, they can buy them. I read the books myself before putting them in the bookshelf, so I don’t just randomly place some books from any publisher, writer or translator in my car. I like to offer people good books.
I launched my Instagram page two years ago. My goal was to get people involved in book reading. In addition, I wanted to encourage other drivers to do such a thing.
There were even a few phone calls from other cities to find out how I was doing this. So, I gave them directions but I don’t know if they did it or not.
On the other hand, we see there are a lot of popular pages on Instagram with no content or cultural topics. In this way, I was trying to do the opposite.
I don’t care if people buy a book. It doesn’t even matter if someone encourages me. I do it because I think it’s useful in the current situation. Sometimes no one buys a single book from me during a week, and it is a bad thing for a person who has more than 100 books in his car and takes them around. However, as I am a book fan myself, I try to share this love with people as much as I can.