What would you do if you found a bag full of 1 million pesos worth of items, including cash and gadgets?
It would be a tough decision for many, but Baguio-based cab driver Reggie Cabututan did not think twice when he found himself in this very situation. After dropping off Australian businessman Trent Shields at coworking space Calle Uno in Baguio on January 17 of last year, Cabututan noticed that his passenger had left his luggage in his vehicle. Cabututan drove back to Calle Uno, just as Trent Shields was about to leave to file a police report.
Shield’s friend Ace Estrada II, the owner of Calle Uno, described the incident in a viral Facebook post that netted close to 4,000 shares and 22,000 reactions.
“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,” Estrada wrote.
The mayor of Baguio also saw Estrada’s post and he invited Cabututan to be honored for his good deed at the city hall’s morning flag ceremony. Also in attendance was Shields himself, who had postponed his flight back to Australia to attend the event.
While Cabututan was more than happy to have done the right thing, Shields gifted the Baguio cab driver with a once-in-a-lifetime reward: a 220,000 peso scholarship to attend a six-month coding bootcamp at the Coder Factory, the coding training center he owned.
Cabututan accepted the scholarship offer, and six months later, he was a full-fledged developer, working on his very first app (and yes, it was related to transportation and tourism in Baguio). As part of the coding bootcamp, Cabututan also completed a four-week internship program with a partner Australian company.
Cabututan was one of twenty students in the inaugural batch of Coding Factory, whose ages ranged from 17 to 47 and included the likes of high school graduates and college dropouts to chemical engineers and medical technologists. Despite this incredible diversity, no one other than Cabututan can lay claim to having become a professional developer from the simple act of doing what he knew was right as a cab driver.