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For 4th time, honest airport taxi driver returns backpack left by passengers

/ 12:08 AM June 24, 2011

It would be easy to just keep or take home valuables left behind by passengers in your taxi. But this airport cabbie has consistently returned left or lost items to his bosses in the hopes of returning them to their rightful owners.

As an airport taxi driver for three years, Daniel David, 33, had his honesty tested three times. Each time, he resisted the temptation of keeping what’s not his.

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David believed that it was wrong to claim something for himself when it was never his in the first place.

The thought of keeping things for himself never crossed his mind, as the cabbie said he was afraid of bad karma happening to him or his family.

At times, David would make the trip to the owner’s house to return the items, or just surrender them to his boss.

“I don’t think of it as a loss for me. I know that whatever I return is something I could earn anyway,” said the cabbie, who takes home P4,000 a month.

“When I find that items were forgotten in my cab, I make it a point not to open them to see what’s inside. I’m afraid of being blinded by what I would find,” David added in Filipino.

Latest test

The latest “test” he passed with flying colors was on Saturday, when he turned over a backpack containing clothes and several pieces of currency from Madagascar that two men apparently forgot in his taxi.

The gray knapsack contained clothes, personal effects, a wristwatch as well as Madagascar Aviary worth MGA 21,300 or P478.3—which David unhesitatingly turned over to supervisor Tony Reyes.

It was apparently part of the two men’s six pieces of luggage and two Duty Free bags, but the knapsack was forgotten just behind the driver’s seat.

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The items were turned over on Saturday to the Manila International Airport Authority’s Intelligence and Investigation for safekeeping until the owner claims the items.

David told the Inquirer that he picked up the two passengers at around 1 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 and drove them to the Genesis bus terminal in Pasay City.

The cabbie surmised that the two balikbayans had just come from somewhere in South Africa and arrived via a connecting flight from Thailand.

‘Coupon taxi’

“They were on their way to Limay, Bataan, because they were talking about finally coming home,” said David, who drove an accredited “coupon taxi” with plate number TYT 202.

A “coupon taxi” allows a passenger to pay a fixed fee depending on his destination of choice, as compared with a metered taxi, which indicates the fare to be paid.

The trip to the bus terminal cost the two men P440, as David recalled even getting a handsome P120 tip from his passengers.

The cabbie even helped the two men unload their bags from the luggage compartment, and thinking that everything was accounted for, drove back to the airport.

But upon reaching the airport, David realized that a backpack was left behind inside his cab, prompting him to turn it over to his boss.

Said Reyes, the cabbie’s supervisor: “It is our policy that forgotten items, even if it’s just a cell phone, should be surrendered to the supervisor so that the passenger can easily claim it.”

Reyes added that honesty is the mark of “coupon taxi” drivers as the cabbies are usually given stern warnings not to keep things for themselves.

Said Danilo Chua, MIAA action officer and officer in charge of the transport division: “Our drivers are very honest. It’s not just the porters but our drivers who never fail in turning over things they find.”

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TAGS: airport coupon taxi, Daniel David, honesty, Philippines, Taxi driver
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