Swindled cab driver gets help from netizens

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Argie Aguja
Argie Aguja
Argie is a wordsmith by day and bookworm at night — enamored by travel and food. When not watching documentaries, he immerses in the world of manga, anime, world history, current events and anything related to tech.

Down on his luck after a dishonest passenger left without paying his fare, a cab driver now finds himself on the receiving end of kindness from generous strangers. 

In a viral Facebook post uploaded by News5, taxi driver Joel Casol narrated how he was swindled by a passenger even as he and fellow drivers faced hard times during the pandemic.

Last Sunday, a middle-aged man wearing a red shirt flagged his taxi along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City and asked to be brought to Tramo, Pasay City. The man alighted and asked Casol to wait for him while he would pick up his family, purportedly to return to Quezon City. 

The taxi driver waited only to realize many minutes later that the passenger was not coming back, leaving his P576 taxi fare unpaid. 

The cabbie asked around, but nobody recognized his passenger. 

“Hindi ko rin naman po akalain na lolokohin nya ako, sobra po ang ginawa nya sa akin,” Casol says during an interview with Wheels.PH.

He reported the incident to a nearby police station and barangay hall but all they could do was file a blotter entry. Feeling down and helpless, Casol returned to his taxi. He had no choice but to continue driving. It was barely a week since he was back behind the wheel under the general community quarantine.

“Pumasok na lang ako ulit sa taxi ko, nagpatulo ng luha. Pagkain na sana ng pamilya ko yon, tapos tinakasan lang nya ako. Napakahirap po, nakataya buhay ko para sa pamilya ko tapos ganon pa ang ginawa nya sa akin,” the cab driver recalls.

The cab driver laments that even though he was victimized, the taxi operator still demanded that he remit the full boundary amounting to P1,248. 

A few days after the incident, Casol’s story was reported by mainstream media and shared on Facebook. Little did he know that lady luck would finally smile on him.

A couple watching the newscast on News5 personally met with Casol on Wednesday to give him rice and groceries. On two separate occasions, he received some financial aid from good Samaritans who wanted to help him recover his lost earnings. 

He expressed gratitude for the help and says this will go a long way in providing the needs of his family, especially now that his income is not as good as it was before the pandemic.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako ng marami para sa mga taong may mabuting loob. Salamat po at may mga tumutulong na sa amin,” a thankful Casol shares.

According to him, the day of a cab driver starts at 4am and ends at 8pm but driving for 16 hours does not always guarantee good income, because both boundary and fuel costs eat up most of his earnings. Yet the taxi driver remains optimistic that things will be better for him and those like him in the transport sector.

“Mahina po ngayon, minsan abonado pa ako. Pero tiis lang po talaga. Matatapos din itong pandemic na ito,” Casol reflects.

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