Las Vegas cab driver turns in the $221k left in his taxi

Nadine Bells
Good NewsOctober 10, 2012

On September 2, Las Vegas taxi driver Adam Woldemarim found a laptop case stuffed with cash in the back of his vehicle.

Total amount inside the case: $221,510.

The 42-year-old cabbie checked in with the friend who drove the vehicle earlier in the day, then brought the cash-filled case to the security office at Frias Transportation Management, which owns his company, Virgin Valley Cab.

It wasn't long before Woldemarim received a phone call from the office asking him to return. The passenger who accidentally abandoned the case wanted to meet him.

The passenger had won the money at Wynn Las Vegas and managed to leave behind his winnings on the way to the airport.

He hugged Woldemarim and handed him a $2,000 tip.

While some of Woldemarim's friends were unimpressed with the less-than-one-per-cent tip — $20,000 would have been 10 per cent, and the going rate for tipping in Vegas is more like 15 or 20 per cent — Woldemarim, who wasn't expecting anything, was touched by the gesture.

Woldemarim works 12 hours a day and makes about $375 a week. With the tip, he can afford to send more money to his family in Ethiopia.

"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 fellow cab driver and friend of Woldemarim's, told 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."

Mark James, president and CEO of Frias Transportation Management, told ABC News that his company is proud of its employee:

"It goes without saying how proud we are of Adam as a member of our team at Frias for the way he conducted himself," James said in a statement. "His actions speak highly of the integrity of all our drivers and our company. It's everything you hope to see in a good employee."