Gerardo Gamboa, a veteran cab driver, was picking up a customer at the Bellagio, when the doorman brought it to his notice that his previous customer had left a brown paper bag on the back seat. The doorman said that it could be chocolate, and Gamboa tossed it on the passenger seat next to the driver’s seat. He thought it was just one of the lost things that cab drivers usually find in Las Vegas.
When he stopped his vehicle at a red light on the Las Vegas Strip, Gamboa decided to check out the contents of the bag. He wondered, “What kind of chocolates are they? Are they good ones that I could buy some for my wife as a present?” However, he was shocked to discover that the brown bag contained cold hard cash, as much as $300k, packed in six neat bundles. Gamboa, who has been driving a cab for the Yellow Checker Star Transportation for the past 13 years, said: “My God, this is cash money.” The driver then quickly dropped his passenger and took the bundle to the main office of the Yellow Checker Star Transportation.
The company notified the Las Vegas police, and the hard task of tracking down the true owner of the money began. Gamboa said that he had driven a passenger to the Palms Place Tower from The Cosmopolitan and that he had received a tip of $5 from the passenger. He had then gone to the Bellagio to wait in the cab line and had not noticed the forgotten package till the doorman brought it to his notice at 11:45 a.m.
Shortly before the transport company called in the police, a man had arrived at the Yellow Star office and had tried to claim the package without showing any identification. Besides, the name he gave did not match the name of the winner of a $300k prize at The Cosmopolitan. Since the company did not wish to hand over the money to him, they called in the police. The police and casino officials soon identified the owner of the package—a well-known professional poker player, whose name was kept a secret.
Yellow Checker Star CEO Bill Shranko said: “This is the largest amount we have found in my 32 years in this business. Recently, we found $9,000, but that’s no longer a big deal.”
Gamboa, however, does not expect a bonus for returning the huge sum.