If the Oslo taxi driver looked familiar to many Norwegians one afternoon in June, it was because he was no other than the country’s prime minister.
Jens Stoltenberg went incognito to eavesdrop on people’s views ahead of the country’s general election in September.
In taxis, he argues, people say what they think.
Recorded on a hidden camera, one elderly woman challenged him on corporate fat cats. “They’re paid too much,” she said.
“It’s hard to stop it”, came the reply.
“Yes but you’re the prime minister!”
“But you can’t impose a rule on them alone.”
There was no meeting of minds either with a rather startled young man over oil industry policy.
“The (left-wing) Socialist party might agree with you,” said the PM, “I don’t.”
Two young women were lost for words as they poked each other, whispering: “Is that really… could it be him…?”
Video of Stoltenberg’s half-day taxi driver shift has been a big hit on social media.
Luckily for him perhaps, the grilling on government policy occasionally lacked punch.
“Well, this was really nice,” said an elderly man as he got out of the car.
“Yeah, it was very nice for me as well, you know,” said Stoltenberg.
“I’ll vote for (your) Labour party now,” said the old man.
The prime minister must have wished that campaigning could always be so easy. However when he accidentally stabbed on the brakes, prompting a sudden jolt, another voter was less impressed.
“Not the best driving I’ve seen,” was her verdict.
The fact that one of two Spanish tourists who got into the taxi recognised Stoltenberg will not win him votes either. A pity, as confirmation of his identity brought some delighted high fives on the back seat.
Less than a month before the election, the PM’s Labour-led coalition is trailing in the polls.