A Las Vegas cabbie is being heralded as a hero after he valiantly returned a quarter-million dollars to a gambler who absentmindedly left behind his winnings on the way to the airport.
Ethiopian immigrant Adam Woldemarim found the cash stuffed in a black laptop case and quickly returned it to his supervisor, not even once thinking of pocketing the winnings as his own.
The winner was so thrilled to be reunited with his bills he gave Mr Woldemarim a $2,000 tip, no small sum to the struggling driver, and was on his merry way.
Mr Woldemarim was cleaning out his car just after 2 a.m. on September 2 when he spotted something curious: a black laptop case shoved between the seats.
He unzipped the package and peered inside, where $221,510 dollars was tightly nestled, he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Stunned by the sight, he called up his friend who had driven the cab earlier in the evening.
‘Is this yours?’ he asked his friend, who is also from Eithiopia.
‘No,’ the friend replied. ‘Take it to security.’
An honest man, Mr Woldemarim headed straight for the security office of Frias Transportation Management, which owns his company Virgin Valley Cab.
There, security officers called police and began photographing the exorbitant evidence and sent Mr Woldemarim on his way.
An hour later, he got a call from the office – he had to turn around and come back.
Waiting for him was a twenty-something man with brown hair, a plain T-shirt on and a wide grin. The man told him that he had won big at the Wynn and left his cash in the cab on the way to the airport.
‘Thank you sooooo much!’ the man told Mr Woldemarim, before handing him $2,000 for his troubles.
Mr Woldemarim said he wasn’t expecting anything, but now he’s the one who is thankful.
He works 12 hours a day six times a week for a meager $350 salary, so $2,000 goes a long way.
His friends, however, were not as impressed.
‘It would have been nice if my good friend got more money, but I think the most important thing here is that a lot of people think foreign cabdrivers like us abuse tourists or they long haul their customers or we’re just here causing problems and we don’t belong here,’ Alex ‘Baharu’ Alebachew, 50, a friend of Mr Woldemarim, said to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
‘They never see the good side to us, the honest side. If you can just print that, that would be nice.’
Mr Woldemarim said he saw their point. In Ethiopia, $2,000 is a small fortune.
‘I’m not living in Ethiopia anymore,’ he said. ‘I’m in America.’