Honest driver returns $3,000 to passenger

Published April 4, 2018, 5:10 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ariel Fernandez

A taxi driver returned US$3,000 which was left behind by an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who had just arrived from Saudi Arabia Tuesday morning.

The OFW, identified as Virgilio Legaspi, who had just arrived on board a PAL flight from Dammam, Saudi Arabia had boarded the yellow taxi at NAIA Terminal 1. He alighted at a bus station in Sampaloc, Manila.

Virgilio Legaspi (left); Gilbert Punzalan (MIAA / MANILA BULLETIN)
Virgilio Legaspi (left); Gilbert Punzalan

After alighting from the cab, Legaspi said he checked his belongings and was shocked to discover that his money placed in a long white envelope was missing.  He immediately took a cab back to NAIA Terminal 1 in the hope of finding the taxi driver to get his money back.

The driver, Gilbert Punzalan of Golden Star Transport, an accredited transport company in NAIA, said that he noticed a white envelope beside the handbrake of his vehicle.  Thinking it was trash, he took the envelope and was about to throw it out of his car window when he felt something was inside it.

He said he opened the envelope and was surprised to see 30 pieces of $100 bills inside and immediately looked for any identification of the owner that he can find.  He discovered that the name of the owner matched the name of the passenger in his the dispatch slip.

Punzalan immediately notified his superiors and rushed back to NAIA Terminal 1 hoping that the owner would come back for his money.

The owner did come back and he was was grateful to find Punzalan at the terminal.

“Alam ko pong pinaghirapan ni Sir yan perang yan. Mahirap pong gastusin ang perang hindi mo pinaghirapan.  Mas importante po ang trabaho naming (I know that money was hard-earned by sir (his passenger). It’s not good to spend money that you did not work for. What’s more important is my job),” said Punzalan who has been an accredited transport driver at NAIA for six years.

Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said he is proud to have someone like Gilbert Punzalan as one of the NAIA accredited taxi drivers.

“Ako ay nagagalak sa katapatan ni Mr. Gilbert Punzalan.  Sana manatili siyang tapat sa kanyang trabaho at maging tunay na ehemplo ng kabutihan sa mga kapwa niya transport drivers.  Ang mga maliliit na kabayanihang tulad ng kanyang ginawa ay malaking tulong sa ating efforts na mapaganda ang imahe ng NAIA sa mundo. (I am pleased with the honesty of Mr. Punzalan. I hope he will stay as a role model among drivers. Small heroes like him are a big help in our efforts to have a good image of NAIA),” he said.