x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Fare deal as taxi driver returns $1m

A Singaporean taxi driver has been heralded as a hero after he returned more than Dh3 million in cash to a Thai couple on holiday who left the money in his cab.

SINGAPORE // A Singaporean taxi driver has been heralded as a hero after he returned more than Dh3 million in cash to a Thai couple on holiday who left the money in his cab.

Sia Ka Tian, 70, found the money in a paper bag on the back seat on Monday after he dropped the couple off at a shopping centre.

"When I saw the money, I thought trouble is here," the Straits Times quoted the 31-year veteran taxi driver as saying.

But when he brought the bag to the transport company ComfortDelGro's lost-and-found office, colleagues counted S$1.1m (Dh3.3m).

"The money is unimportant to me. It doesn't belong to me, so how can I use it?" he said.

The Thai couple reported the loss to the company, and Mr Sia was waiting for them when they arrived to claim the money. The report did not say what they were doing with such a large sum.

The driver received an undisclosed cash reward from the couple, whose names have been withheld, and the company also plans to give him an award.

"Finding $1m in cash is not an everyday affair and, in fact, we wonder how many people would have possibly been tempted" to keep the money, said Tammy Tan, the cab company's spokeswoman.

"We are immensely proud of him, and are glad that the passengers recovered their money."

It was the most valuable item returned by a cabbie working for the company.

In 2009, another taxi driver found, then returned gold bars weighing five kilograms worth S$377,000.