Bangkok taxi driver returns 170,000 baht to Laotian tourist

Photo via MGR Online

A Bangkok taxi driver is being praised for his kindness after going the extra mile to return 170,000 baht to a Laotian tourist travelling in Thailand.

Bangkok taxi drivers may have received a record amount of complaints last year over bad manners, rejection of passengers, doctored meters, dangerous driving and overcharging. But one tourist from Laos will assure you that they’re not all bad eggs.

On Tuesday at 8pm, Rangsan Tonwongkaew picked up a Laotian passenger from Central World in Bangkok in his pink and green taxi and drove him to a restaurant on Soi Lad Phrao 87, reports CH3.

After dropping off the tourist, the driver realised the passenger had left an envelope on the back seat from SuperRich Currency Exchange. The envelope contained Hong Kong dollars equivalent to 167,659 baht.

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The taxi driver said…

“At first when I saw the stuff in the back of my car, I honestly thought the passenger was leaving rubbish in my taxi again. I opened the envelope to check and found a lot of money.

“On the slip, there was a phone number. I rang the number but no one answered, so I called FM91 Trafficpro [traffic news channel] and asked them to make an announcement to find the owner because I don’t want to keep it myself. It’s a lot of money. I know that the tourist will travel to Hong Kong.

“I thought contacting FM 91 was the best thing to do because I’ve seen them reuniting passengers with mobile phones – which are only small but they contain stuff that’s important to us.

“Importantly, I want to support Thailand’s tourism industry. If we return lost items, it’s like an advert for tourism. It lets people know that Thai people are kind towards foreigners. I want the taxi industry to be beautiful. I’d like to invite taxi drivers to be honest, don’t be materialistic, and then foreigners will see that we are kind-hearted. We are trying to make a living and so are they. Be honest in your career.”

A Thai friend, Puttiphat Kusolmanit, picked up the money on behalf of the passenger, who’d already left for Hong Kong. He said…

“I came to receive the money on behalf of my Laotian friend who is in Hong Kong. He’d exchanged money for his trip and then left it in the taxi. He thought he wouldn’t get it back. He had no hope at all. He was very lucky to meet this taxi driver. Thank you for returning the money.”

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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