Kabalen taxi driver in Las Vegas returns $300,000, gets reward

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


LAS VEGAS cab driver Gerardo Gamboa, who hails from Mabalacat City in Pampanga, thought someone left a bag of chocolates in the back seat of his vehicle -- but the stash turned out to be $300,000 in cold hard cash.

Gamboa is winning honors for honesty after turning in the money he found Monday. The money was returned to an unidentified poker player. Yellow Checker Star Transportation named Gamboa its driver of the year and rewarded him with $1,000 and a dinner for two at a restaurant.

Gamboa had another passenger by the time he began wondering what kind of chocolates were in the brown paper bag. He peeked inside at a traffic light.

"I told my passenger, 'You are my witness on this.' Then I immediately called my dispatcher," Gamboa, who has been working at the company for 13 years, said.

Gamboa took the six bundles of $100 bills to the company's main office, where Las Vegas police and casino officials linked it to the poker player.

Gamboa said the man gave him a $5 tip after a trip from the Cosmopolitan resort to the Palms Place tower, and Gamboa then drove to the Bellagio resort, where a doorman helping a passenger into the car noticed the bag.

It took several hours to verify the identity of the owner and return the cash. He took Gamboa's information, but didn't immediately leave a reward.

"If he doesn't give me anything, that's OK," Gamboa said. "I'm not waiting for any kind of return. I just wanted to do the right thing, and I appreciate what the company did for me."

Meanwhile, the poker player who left the $300,000 in the back seat of Gamboa’s taxi made good on his promise, handing over a $10,000 reward to the honest cabbie who returned the stash.

Yellow Checker Star Cab Company CEO Bill Shranko confirmed Friday that Gerardo Gamboa had been paid by the poker player.

The cab company also honored the driver's good deed by naming him employee of the year, awarding him $1,000 and giving him a gift certificate to a Las Vegas steakhouse.

It's unclear how Gamboa plans to spend the belated Christmas gift. (AP)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 29, 2013.

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