Honest Manila airport taxi driver returns $3,000 left in his cab

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal (left) commends airport taxi driver Gilbert Punzalan for his honesty today. Photo courtesy of MIAA.

A Manila airport taxi driver has been praised for returning $3,000 left in his cab by a returning overseas worker.

Virgilio Legaspi had flown home from his in Saudi Arabia today (Tuesday, April 3) and caught a taxi from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

After dropping his customer at a bus station, Golden Star taxi driver Gilbert Punzalan was on his way back to the NAIA when he noticed some thick white paper wedged into the space next to his handbrake.

Wrapped inside the white paper were 30 $100 bills — equivalent to about 150,000 pesos. The name of the owner, Virgilio Legaspi, was written on the paper.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mr Punzalan said: “I know he worked hard for this money. It’s also not easy to spend such a huge amount.”

He said he immediately called his employer about his find, so his boss could coordinate with airport authorities.

Mr Punzalan also confirmed that Virgilio Legaspi was the same name written on the taxi dispatch slip at the airport.

When they heard about the incident, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) coordinated with the Bureau of Immigration to find out more about Mr Legaspi.

Meanwhile, he had noticed that his was missing, and returned to the airport about an hour later. After his identification had been verified, the money was handed back to him.

“I didn’t expect I could get this back. I am very grateful,” he told reporters, adding that the was for his family.

He then offered his personal thanks to Mr Punzalan. It is not known if any reward was given.

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said he was very proud of Mr Punzalan, who is an airport-accredited taxi driver. He said he hoped other drivers would act the in the same way in such circumstances.

Mr Monreal added that the story of Mr Punzalan’s honesty was a huge help to boost the NAIA’s less than shining reputation.

Earlier today, for example, we reported that two security officers at the NAIA had been charged for stealing 1,700 Australian dollars from a Japanese tourist.