CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Filipino American taxi driver Gerardo Gamboa got a Christmas gift worth $10,000 from the owner of the $300,000 (P12.6-M) cash left in his taxi last Monday (Dec. 23), it was reported Friday (Dec. 27).
A staff of Yellow Checker Star taxi company in Las Vegas, Nevada did not confirm nor deny the report when reached for comment by the Fil Am Extra Exchange. A phone call placed by FAXX at the residence of Gamboa was picked up but not answered.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Yellow Checker Star Cab company CEO Bill Shranko confirmed that Gamboa, a native of Mabalacat, Pampanga in the Philippines, was rewarded by the 28-year-old poker player $10,000 (P420,000) for returning the $300,000 cash left in his Checker’s taxi he was driving.
Gamboa was likewise adjudged “Driver of the Year” by the taxi company, which also gave him $1,000 for his honesty and a free dinner for two to a high-end Las Vegas hotel.
The owner of the $300,000 cash stashed in a paper bag is a 28-year-old well-known poker player, who took Gamboa’s taxicab on Monday from Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas and hurriedly got off his taxicab after giving Gamboa a $5 tip for a five-minute drive that took him to nearby Palm Place hotel two miles away. The passenger left behind his paper bag full of money. The poker player wanted to remain anonymous.
When a passenger was about to board Gamboa’s taxi by Bellagio Hotel, the passenger alerted Gamboa that a paper bag full of “chocolates” was left in the cab.
When Gamboa looked closer inside the paper bag, he saw the bundles of cash, telling the passenger, “You are my witness on this” and immediately called his taxi company to report the find.
LAS VEGAS TRACED OWNER OF BUNDLES OF CASH TO A POKER PLAYER
Gamboa took the six bundles of $100 bills to the company, which counted them and kept then in its lost-and-found vault.
The company reported the money to the Las Vegas police, which traced its owner to a well-known poker player.
Hours later, the owner of the cash bundles arrived to claim the money but had to wait a little while as he came by without identification papers. When the Las Vegas police ascertained the claimant’s identity, the taxi company gave the money to the poker player.
Checker Group of Companies CEO Bill Shranko commended Gamboa for his honesty but said the company had far bigger amounts left behind in the taxi in the past.
Shranko credited Gamboa’s honesty to an almost-weekly seminar or continuing education about honesty as professional taxi drivers, emphasizing honesty to all tourists from all over the world visiting the entertainment capital of the world – Las Vegas.
Gamboa, a 13-year taxi driver veteran, said returning the money not his was “the right thing to do.” He never expected to get a reward but happy to get a reward from his company.
Gamboa is the son of the late Manuel Gamboa from Silay City and Leonila Dizon Gamboa, from San Francisco, Mabalacat, Pampanga.
THIS THICK: Filipino American Gerardo D. Gamboa describes how thick a bundle of $300,000 in cold cash he found in his taxi cab in Las Vegas, Nevada Monday (Dec. 23) (FAXX photo grab from CBS-TV KLAS).
BUNDLES OF CASH: Bundles of $100 bills worth $300,000 which Filipino American Gerardo D. Gamboa found in his taxi cab. (FAXX photo grab from CBS-TV KLAS)