Honest Cebu taxi driver helps OFW keep memories of late mom

By: Immae Lachica August 20,2019 - 04:25 PM

REASON TO SMILE. Janssen Esteban (left) flashes a smile despite just losing his mom to cancer, after taxi driver Martin Gonzales (right) returned to him his passport and cellphone which he left on the latter’s taxi cab. The phone Esteban accidentally left had pictures of his mom before she passed away. | contributed photo

Cebu City, Philippines—Everyday, there are stories from all over the world that reminds us there’s still hope in humanity.

Cebuano Janssen Esteban didn’t think he’d be one to tell that story, especially in a time of grief. 

Last August 17,  Esteban, a native of Ronda town southwestern Cebu who is now a consultant based in Singapore, took a red-eye flight back to Cebu to attend his mother’s 40th-day memorial service. 

His mom died of breast cancer.

This is where his path crossed with that of taxi driver Martin Gonzales. 

He said he took a cab to his house in Barangay Tisa, where he would then transfer to a car which he would drive to the town of Ronda, which around 63 kilometers south of Cebu City. 

“I took a [taxi cab] and I was in such a hurry to alight the cab that I unknowingly left both my passport and Samsung phone which contains irreplaceable memories,” he said.

Esteban said It was when he was already en route to Ronda when he noticed that he lost his passport and his smartphone.

What made the boo-boo really painful was that the phone he left contained things that were very important to him.

“More than the value of [the phone] device, it contained pictures of my mom’s last few days [like] photos while carrying her 5-month-old granddaughter before [she] died,.” shared Esteban.

It should have been a very painful experience for the grieving Esteban. Luckily, though, he chose the right taxi cab the morning he arrived at the airport.

According to Esteban, just moments after he realized he left his things in Gonzales’ cab, the driver tried getting in touch with him to tell him he left some stuff. 

“Mr. Martin Gonzales had already been trying to reach out to me through social media as he immediately made a U-turn when he realized valuables were left in his cab,” said Esteban. 

Esteban was already far from the city when he was notified and decided to just meet Gonzales the next day.

When they finally met, Gonzales returned all the  stuff Esteban left in the cab, including the phone that had photos of his late mom. 

“I salute him for his integrity. He is truly an example that there is still hope in humanity,” Esteban said. 

Esteban said he is sharing this story because he wants this to inspire the younger generation. 

“May his act of goodness spread and be a precedent of what we all hope is the kind of person our children will grow to become,” he said.  

It is not the first time a taxi driver in Cebu  is highlighted for his honesty. 

Read: Honest taxi driver from Sogod among recipients of Outstanding Individual Award

In September 2018, taxi driver Eugene Novecio also returned a laptop bag left by his passenger in his cab. 

He was later awarded as among the Outstanding Individuals for the Mayor’s Award in the 82nd Charter Day Awarding Ceremony last February 2019.  /bmjo

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