Taxi driver returns 78,000 baht

A 41-year-old Bangkok taxi driver has been awarded 5,000 baht for his honesty after he returned almost 80,000 baht to a Chinese passenger who left his wallet in the vehicle.

Fo Chuan Fong, 41, and his sister Mei Fang, 36, were travelling in a taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Ua-arthorn housing project in Soi Kubon 27 in Bang Khen area late on Wednesday night. Mr Fo mistakenly left his wallet containing Chinese and Thai banknotes worth about 78,000 baht in the cab.

After dropping off the pair, driver Nares Luachakote drove to Min Buri with his last passenger of the day before returning to his home in Suwinthawong, where he later found a wallet under the driver’s seat. 

Mr Nares said he wanted to return the wallet to the Chinese passengers but did not know on which floor of the Ua-arthorn building they were living. He then contacted the Sor Wor Por 91 police radio station to publicise his discovery.

Ms Mei, who has been granted Thai citizenship and has lived in Thailand for 25 years, later contacted Sor Wor Por 91 on the advice of a taxi driver friend. She was later told that Mr Nares had found the wallet and was keeping it for her brother. The Chinese siblings are tour guides for Chinese tourists from mainland China. The money left in the taxi belongs to the China-based tour company they work for, according to Ms Mei.     

The station arranged a meeting on Thursday in which Mr Nares returned the money to Mr Fo who thanked the taxi driver and gave him 1,000 yuan, or about 5,000 baht, as a reward.   

“When I found the wallet I felt worried and wanted to give it back to the owner as soon as possible,” Mr Nares said. “I’m shouldering expenses for my son who is in grade 8 and a 13,000 baht-monthly installment for my taxi. I’m proud of what I have, what I do and don’t want to take things that I don’t own.”

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