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Cabbie who handed over $300,000 gets big reward

On Monday, veteran cab driver Gerardo Gamboa received a $5 tip for driving a big-stakes poker player from the Cosmopolitan to the Palms Place.

On Friday, Gamboa picked up something extra for honesty: $10,000. It was the result of Gamboa turning in a brown paper bag filled with $300,000 the poker player left in the cab.

In addition, Gamboa’s employer Yellow Checker Star Transportation will chip in another $1,000, said company chief operating officer William Shranko, and Gamboa will receive $250 certificate to cover dinner for two at Lawry’s restaurant.

Shranko said the poker player, who he said wanted to retain his privacy, delivered the reward to an undisclosed location. The money came from the stash in the bag, six bundles of $100 bills that the Cosmopolitan confirmed to Shranko it had paid out on Monday.

Since Gamboa’s story came to light in Tuesday’s Review-Journal, Shranko said the company has received calls from media outlets all over the world. Besides the way Gamboa resisted the temptation of easy, if dishonest, riches, Shranko said the feel-good aspect was amplified because it happened during the holiday season.

In particular, he said, media outlets in the Philippines, Gamboa’s native country, had shown interest as something upbeat after the widespread tragedy and destruction caused when Typhoon Haiyan struck the country in November.

Gamboa, a driver for the Checker Cab Co., division of Yellow Checker Star for 13 years, lived in the United States for 27 years before his brush with fame over the found money.

When Gamboa went to the Bellagio late Monday morning to pick up a ride, a doorman there handed him the paper bag to make room for the passenger. Until then, Gamboa had not noticed the bag in the back seat.

Initially believing the bag contained just chocolates, Gamboa opened it while sitting at a red light on the Strip and was stunned to find the money. After dropping off an equally shocked passenger, Gamboa turned it in to the company saying he didn’t want someone else’s money.

After spending the afternoon establishing the identity of the owner, with Metro’s help, the company handed over the money to the poker player.

Tim O’Reiley can be reached at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or at 702-387-5290.

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