Joel Willden, Yellow Checker Star / Courtesy
Published Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 | 11:21 a.m.
Updated Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 | 12:02 p.m.
A taxi driver who turned in $300,000 found in the back of his cab has received a $10,000 reward from the gambler who lost it.
Gerardo Gamboa, named Yellow Checker Star’s Driver of the Year for his honesty, received the reward money from an unidentified gambler, believed to be a local poker player, who left the money in a paper bag in the cab.
Representatives of YCS said they agreed not to identify the gambler.
Gamboa picked up the man two days before Christmas at the Cosmopolitan and took him to Palms Place, where the passenger gave him a $5 tip.
Gamboa then went to the Bellagio, where a doorman took the bag left in the back seat of the car and put it on the front passenger seat.
When Gamboa stopped at a traffic light after picking up his next passenger, he peeked inside the bag and discovered the cash — six stacks of bundled $100 bills.
Once the gambler’s identity was verified, YCS returned the money to the player, who asked to see Gamboa to shake his hand. He told Gamboa he planned to reward him and got his contact information.
This morning, YCS Field Operations Manager Joel Willden was on hand when the gambler paid the reward to Gamboa.
“He’s absolutely awesome; he’s one of our stars,” Willden said of Gamboa, a 13-year driver for the company.
After receiving the money, Gamboa drove to his wife’s workplace to share the news. Gamboa said he hasn’t decided what to do with the money.
“I’m taking it to the bank for now. But after that, I don’t know what is going to happen,” he said.
A devout Catholic, Gamboa said he plans to make a donation to his church to “share the blessing.”