Gambler antes up, gives $10K reward to Vegas cabbie who found his $300K

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Gerardo Gamboa

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas cabbie who returned $300,000 left in his car has received a $10,000 reward from the poker player who lost the cash.

But cab driver Gerardo Gamboa and his bosses on Friday still weren’t revealing the name of the 28-year-old professional gambler, whom they earlier described as a famous figure on the poker circuit.

“It’s good enough, I really appreciate it,” Gamboa said about the reward. “I wasn’t expecting anything from the people I help. I never expect anything from the people I do good for, but I really appreciate it and that he appreciated what I’d done for him.”

Before the gambler forgot his paper bag of cash in the cab’s backseat, the poker player tipped the cabbie $5 on a $9.90 fare, Gamboa said.

The brown paper bag, with wads of $100 bills inside, was discovered when Gamboa picked up his next fare.

“I really appreciate that because when somebody gives me $5 it means they appreciate my service,” Gamboa said.

When pressed for the high roller’s name, however, Gamboa was, well, poker-faced himself.

“You know, he doesn’t want me to mention his name, and I want to keep his privacy. He doesn’t want any publicity,” Gamboa said.

The gambler and cabbie didn’t say much during the two-mile ride Monday between hotel casinos in Vegas.

“We didn’t have any conversation,” Gamboa said. “The only thing I told him was I take him where he was going. He didn’t say hi or bye but he was an outstanding person, his attitude and everything, and how grateful he is since I found his money.”

Meanwhile, Gamboa’s native country of the Philippines is going to honor him.

The office of President Benigno Aquino III called the cab company and said it will send a resolution of commendation to him, said Bill Shranko, chief operations officer at Yellow Checker Star.

“They are so proud of me, and I am so proud of what I have done,” Gamboa said.

His countrymen, family and employer hold that pride, he said, “because I did the right thing and didn’t think twice because I was not interested in those money that did not belong to me.”

He has been surprised by the international attention.

“I have a lot of people calling me and telling me how honest I am. That’s the way I am, that’s the way my parents raised me when I was a kid,” he said.

Yellow Checker Star gave Gamboa a $1,000 reward, made him driver of the year, and gave him a steak dinner for two.

His boss also gave him four paid days off.

Those who make their living in the cab business are enjoying the moment: Cabbies are no longer maligned — whether it’s for running up the fare or refusing to stop when hailed on the street — and are generating international good will, Gamboa’s boss said.

“This is the best thing to happen to drivers worldwide because they don’t have a good reputation and they work incredibly hard, 12 hours a day, and they do a tremendous job for tourism worldwide,” Shranko said.

On New Year’s Eve — one of the busiest days in the cabbie business — Gamboa will be back at work on the Las Vegas Strip. That’s where the cabbie picked up the forgetful gambler and proved his honesty in a town better known as sin city.


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