Airport taxi driver returns more than PHP150,000 left by passenger

Photo from ABS-CBN News.

Manila’s airport taxis have had a bad rap of late after two vloggers shared their experiences with greedy drivers last month, but just yesterday, a taxi driver gave us reason to have hope in humanity again when he returned thousands of dollars left by a passenger.

Overseas Filipino worker Virgilio Legaspi, who just came back home from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, took Gilbert Punzalan’s taxi from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and had himself dropped off at a bus station in Sampaloc, Manila.

READ: Manila airport’s general manager threatens to ban white taxis after vlogger Haley Dasovich’s viral video

After parting ways, Legaspi noticed that he no longer had the envelope that was inside his pocket which contained US$3,000 (PH156,250) he had saved. He then went back to NAIA and found that the taxi driver had surrendered his money to authorities.

But that almost wasn’t going to happen.

Apparently, Punzalan, the driver, was close to throwing away the envelope he had found beside his taxi’s handbrake. That’s when he discovered there were 30 US$100 bills inside.

“It was inside [the envelope], so at first, I thought it was just trash,” Punzalan said in a Facebook video posted by the Manila International Airport Authority. “When I picked it up, I opened it and it was full of dollars.”

He then called his boss and was advised to go back to the bus station but he did not find Legaspi there because he was already on his way back to the airport by then. Punzalan decided to go back to the airport instead.

READ: Food vlogger Mikey Chen charged PHP2,300 by taxi to move airport terminals

The driver said that he did not have second thoughts about returning the money because he got to know his passenger a little bit during the drive.

“[T]his is a big amount of money. And first of all, I knew that my passenger was an OFW. I know that he worked hard for this. So right when I saw [the money], I called right away to report the money I found,” Punzalan said.

According to Punzalan, he has been working as a driver for an airport-accredited yellow taxi for six years.

Legaspi thanked Punzalan for what he did and was delighted to know that not all taxi drivers are greedy.

“There really are taxi drivers that are true to their duty. Not interested in money,” he said.

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