Over the course of Gerardo Gamboa’s many years as a Las Vegas taxi driver, a lot of customers have left behind a lot of personal belonging in his cab.
But Monday was special for the Checker Cab driver of 13 years. No one had ever left behind a paper bag holding $300,000 in cash.
The driver said he didn’t even notice the bag on Monday until a doorman at the Bellagio told him someone had left something in his backseat. So Gamboa plopped the paper bag that both he and the doorman suspected contained chocolate down next to him in his passenger seat and left to pick up another passenger.
However, the driver’s curiosity eventually got the better of him as he started wondering about the bag’s contents.
“What kind of chocolates are they?” he asked himself, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Are they good ones that I could buy some for my wife as a present?”
He opened the bag and much to his and his passenger’s surprise, the bag contained stacks of $100 bills.
“My God, this is cash money,” said Gamboa.
After a few minutes, the driver regained his composure and he decided a course of action.
Gamboa dropped off his passenger, collected his fare, called his dispatcher about the missing cash and drove the money to Yellow Checker Star Transportation’s main office.
However, when he got there, he wasn’t able to piece together who could have possibly left that kind of money in his cab.
The cabbie remembered picking up a few passengers separately and shuttling them between popular destinations including the Cosmopolitan to the Palms Place tower. But he also remembered that it wasn’t until around 11:45 a.m. that the doorman notified him of the paper bag in his backseat.
As Gamboa tried to piece together the mystery of the missing $300,000, a man showed up at the Yellow Checker Star office claiming the cash was his. However, the man who tried to claim the money tried to do so without identification and the name he provided didn’t match the name given by the Cosmopolitan, a casino that reported earlier paying out $300,000.
Gamboa and his managers eventually decided to call the Las Vegas police.
After a little digging, Las Vegas law enforcement officials were able to place the money with a prominent local poker player whose name they wouldn’t reveal.
But even after figuring out who owned the money, Gamboa and his managers are still amazed that someone would forget that kind of money.
“This is the largest amount we have found in my 32 years in this business,” said Yellow Checker Star chief operating officer Bill Shranko. “Recently, we found $9,000 but that’s no longer a big deal.”
For his part, Gamboa said the thought of skimming a few $100 bills for himself never crossed his mind.
“Even though I am a poor guy I don’t need money that doesn’t belong to me,” said Gamboa.
As of this writing, it’s unclear whether the Las Vegas resident of 27 years will receive a finder’s reward. But even if he doesn’t receive an additional tip for his honestly, he doesn’t care, the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes.
“Tomorrow, I go back to work,” he said.
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