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Phuket Opinion: Celebrating the honesty of two taxi drivers on the island

Phuket Opinion: Celebrating the honesty of two taxi drivers on the island

PHUKET: There have been positive news stories that deserve special mention and praise this week.

By Claire Connell

Friday 10 January 2014, 04:58PM

Over the weekend, there were two separate cases of tourists leaving belongings and large amounts of cash in taxis, after they had arrived in Phuket.

The first instance was Italian tourist Alfredo De Santi, 37, who left a bag containing B500,000 cash, a mobile phone, passport and iPad in a taxi.

The second was an Australian tourist who left her wallet containing B40,000 inside a tuk-tuk.

In both cases, the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers reported the missing items to police, who were successfully able to reunite the left items with their owners.

They were incredibly lucky really – surely many of you are wondering why on earth these two tourists were carrying around such large amounts of cash and then being careless with it?

B500,000 is a small fortune for most living in Phuket.

Mr De Santi was very thankful for the safe return of his belongings and commented to police: “I love Thailand”.

The island’s drivers often cop a lot of flack – sometimes justified and sometimes not. Transport on the island is topical and everyone has an opinion on what the solution is, and what they think of the drivers currently.

That’s why stories like these two are like a ray of sunshine in news days that are full of death, destruction and general mayhem on the island.

Taxi driver Phanom Baanbai and tuk-tuk driver Prasert Tubkaew deserve praise – not only from the tourists and police, but also from the local Thai and expat community.

How easy would it have been for both these drivers just to take a few hundred baht?

After all, that’s not much out of B500,000, and the tourists would probably not have even noticed it was gone. They could have even taken B1,000 without too much trouble, let alone the whole bag.

Full credit to them for their honesty. With all the stories out there about tourism on Phuket being “ruined” by the actions of many, these two tourists will go home with positive memories of their time on Phuket.

More importantly, stories like this –as publicised in the media – do wonders to combat stereotypes that all the island’s taxi and tuk-tuk drivers are money grabbing members of the mafia, who can’t wait to rip off tourists.

Many are just regular guys trying to make a living, and are decent individuals – as shown by the actions of these two drivers this week.


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