By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – The Filipino-American cab driver who returned $300,000 in hard cash left behind by a passenger was rewarded handsomely for his honesty.
Gerardo Gamboa of Mabalacat, Pampanga and Silay City, received $10,000 Friday from the owner of the money, a professional poker player who chose to remain anonymous. His identity, however, has been established.
“I’ll give this to my wife, and we can buy some stuff,” said the 34-year-old Gamboa, who created a worldwide sensation for returning the money left behind in his cab on Christmas Day.
“I’m happy that we can show to the world the Filipino is a good person, and can not be easily dazzled by money.”
Together with the $1,000 reward and steak dinner for two from Yellow Checker Star, the cab company Gamboa has been working for, it was a rewarding Christmas for the 13-year cab veteran.
“We’re so proud of him” said Bill Shranko, the company’s COO. “He epitomizes the culture of honesty we try to develop among our drivers.”
In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gamboa said he found the money after noticing a brown paper bag in the back seat of the cab.
When a passenger got in, “I told my passenger, ‘You are my witness on this,”and then I immediately called my dispatcher.”
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 poker player 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.
Once the cash was secured at the taxi company office, it was tracked to the owner through Cosmopolitan records. The man arrived at the office in sweats and a T-shirt to reclaim his money, but he didn’t have any identification.
YCS officials took another few hours conferring with the Cosmopolitan and Metro Police to make sure.