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December 28, 2013

Gambler rewards man who returned $300K left in cab

LAS VEGAS — A poker player who left $300,000 in the back seat of a Las Vegas taxi made good on his promise this week, handing over a $10,000 reward to the honest cabbie who returned the stash.

Yellow Checker Star Cab Company CEO Bill Shranko confirmed Friday that Gerardo Gamboa had been paid by the poker player, who authorities are not identifying. The cab company also honored the driver’s good deed by naming him employee of the year, awarding him $1,000 and giving him a gift certificate to a Las Vegas steakhouse.

It’s unclear how Gamboa plans to spend the belated Christmas gift. He did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Friday.

The tale, first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, started Monday when Gamboa made a pickup at the Bellagio casino. A hotel doorman noticed a brown paper bag on the back seat and handed it to him; Gamboa thought it was candy.

The driver said he had another passenger by the time he began wondering what kind of chocolates were in the brown paper bag. He peeked inside at a traffic light and spotted the cash.

“I told my passenger, ‘You are my witness on this,”’ the 13-year taxi driver told the Las Vegas Sun, “and then I immediately called my dispatcher.”

Gamboa took the six bundles of $100 bills to the company’s main office, where Las Vegas police and casino officials linked it to the poker player.

It took several hours to verify the identity of the owner and return the cash.

Before he learned about the anonymous gambler’s gift, Gamboa said he wasn’t in it for the money.

“If he doesn’t give me anything, that’s OK,” Gamboa told the Sun earlier this week. “I’m not waiting for any kind of return. I just wanted to do the right thing, and I appreciate what the company did for me.”

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