Airport cabbie returns $3K left by OFW passenger


MANILA — A taxi driver at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) immediately returned USD3,000 left by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) on Tuesday.

OFW Virgilio Legaspi just arrived from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. He rode an airport cab to take him to a bus station.

As Gilbert Punzalan, Golden Star taxi driver, was on his way back to NAIA, he noticed a thick white paper, which, according to him, was inserted beside the handbrake.

Inside the white paper was 30 pieces of USD 100, or equivalent to about PHP150,000. The name Virgilio Legaspi was written on the paper.

Alam kong pinaghirapan niya yan. Mahirap din gastusin yung ganung kalaking pera. (I know he worked hard for this money. It’s also not easy to spend such a huge amount),” Punzalan told airport reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

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

Punzalan also found out that Virgilio Legaspi was the same name written on the taxi dispatch slip being given at NAIA.

Upon knowing the incident, Manila Internationaltional Airport Authority (MIAA) coordinated with the Bureau of Immigration and asked information about Legaspi.

Legaspi noticed the missing money and was able to get back to NAIA about an hour later. After some identity verification, 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 money is for his family.

Legaspi was able to personally thank Punzalan at NAIA terminal 1.

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said he is very proud of Punzalan, an airport-accredited taxi driver. He said he hopes other taxi drivers would imitate Punzalan’s honesty.

Monreal noted that small acts of kindness and honesty like this, are a huge help to further boost MIAA’s efforts to improve NAIA’s image. Ma. Cristina Arayata/