Norway’s prime minister drives a taxi to be among the common people

Norway's prime minister went undercover as a taxi driver to meet his constituents.


Gaby Dunn


Published Aug 12, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 9:20 am CDT

William Shatner once lamented a girl who wished she could live among “the common people.” (Okay, Pulp did, but Shatner’s cover of the song is funnier.) And Norway’s prime minister did just that.

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Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s leader, drove a taxi around for a day to hear from the ordinary people. Stoltenberg, who is in the midst of a reelection campaign, got behind the wheel and asked his constituents what they really wanted to see from their government. Stoltenberg apparently hadn’t driven a car since he took office eight years ago, but he decided to take to an Oslo cab because that’s where people would be most honest. 

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He told reporters he thought the back of a taxi cab is where people really say what they mean. Some people seem to recognize him, but don’t believe the prime minister would be driving a cab. One old man tells him, “When I see you from the back, you look a lot like Stoltenberg.” An old woman gets right down to business because she’d been meaning to write him a letter.

It’s something every leader of a country should do, not only to humble themselves, but also to get to hear the real voices of the people. Plus, there’s almost no security with him. He’s actually touching these street urchins’ filthy hands! What a mensch! 

H/T Gawker / Photo via YouTube


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*First Published: Aug 12, 2013, 4:33 pm CDT