LOOK: How An Honest Baguio Taxi Driver Got A Scholarship

Last week, the story of an honest taxi driver from Baguio went viral:

How often have we read about taxi drivers in Baguio doing an honest deed and returning valuables to their rightful owners? Today, my Australian friend Trent, completely forgot about his luggage when he alighted at Calle Uno Coworking Space. It took a full thirty minutes before he realized his mistake, and all he could remember about the taxi was that “it was white”. Passport, Macbook Pro, money, everything was in there! Never did I pray so hard that the news accounts of Baguio City’s taxi driver’s collective honesty was true. But it was! Just as we were leaving for the police station to file a report, Trent’s taxi pulled in. Never was a sight more welcome than the smiling face of this driver. What an awesome win for humanity!

Mr. Reggie Cabututan, driver of Dustin Brant Taxi, you are the finest of your tribe. I have never felt more proud to be Filipino than today. (Ace Estrada)

Because of his good deed, Reggie ended up with a scholarship worth P220,000! Trent Shields, the Australian who lost his baggage, posted about what happened:

Source: Trent Shields

Full text:

Hey Guys,

So if you haven’t seen it already I accidentally gained some notoriety in the Philippines after rewarding a man that did a kind deed for me. I mistakenly left my suitcase in a taxi after being quite ill the previous day, and having little sleep. It took me some time to realise, and as I did the taxi driver, Reggie, came back and returned my luggage.

Despite what the news is saying there definitely was not $20,000 cash in the bag. It had my Macbook, my passport and an expensive pair of headphones, the total value of which was perhaps $7000 aud.

Reggie did not know the value of the contents, the suitcase was padlocked, and it wouldn’t have mattered if there a million dollars or it was empty. The real story should be focussed on his integrity.

I tipped him generously and we took a few photos together. My friend and business partner Ace put together a small facebook post to say thank you.

It blew up over night and became a symbol of pride in the region, as Reggie embodies many of the values shared by the people of Baguio, and I was lucky enough to experience on my trip. The post gave the community a way to celebrate what they already knew was true of their home and their culture.

I had previously booked a holiday in Cebu where I had intended to lay on a beach and forget about the world. Upon learning that there was to be an award ceremony for Reggie, presented by Mayor Domogan of Bagiuo, I cancelled my flight (while it was boarding) and jumped on the 6 hour ride back to Baguio.

Many of you know I am the Academic Director at CoderFactory, a school that teaches software development and helps adult students enter I.T. as an industry. In short the bootcamp turns students into junior developers over a span of 6 months, and is nationally accredited.

In Baguio we have a partnership with Vivixx Academy delivering the same bootcamp for Filipino students. During the award ceremony I was lucky to be able to offer a full scholarship for one of our courses (to the value of 220,000 pesos) with the promise of an internship with an Australian company and the opportunity for it to lead into full employment.

Reggie has accepted the scholarship! And I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped in making him feel special.

What I wanted to ask though was that people stay respectful, reading through a lot of the comments, especially on the Australian news sites, I am embarrassed to see there is a lot negativity over something that I see as a simple and kind gesture. I know this is the nature of the internet, but I just hope people can see through the misinformation in many of the news articles and see the post for what it was, just a feel good story where everyone ends up happy!

Faith in humanity restored! What do you think about this?