Ronald Gadayan, a janitor at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was praised by airport officials after he returned on Monday afternoon a bag containing more than P600,000 cash and other valuables belonging to a Cebu City-bound passenger.
The 28 year old building attendant, found the Burberry pouch bag at NAIA Terminal 2 domestic departure wing at around 3:30 p.m.
Gadayan said he thought the bag on one of the chairs at the pre-departure lounge was left temporarily by one of the passengers who at that time were waiting to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Cebu.
When the owner failed to return, he immediately summoned PAL ground staff, who later turned the bag to airport policemen.
“Everyone had already boarded the plane but the bag was still there. I thought it belonged to one of the passengers who just went to the comfort room. I was mopping the floor at that time and passed by the bag several times. When a new batch of passengers came in, I was sure the owner had forgotten the bag,” he recounted.
Using the public address system, the ground staff first called for the bag’s owner, who they thought might still be at airport premises. When no one came forward to claim the bag, the airport policemen decided to open it.
Credit and calling cards found in the bag revealed the owner as one Francis Lloyd Chua Ty, a businessman who was a passenger of flight PR 849. Found in the bag were P634,807.96 cash in various denominations as well as several pieces of jewelry, wristwatches and sunglasses with a total estimated value of P1.8 million.
PAL and NAIA management officials managed to contact Ty shortly after he landed in Cebu. Ty sent an executive assistant to claim the bag.
The grateful owner and NAIA officials led by general manager Jose Angel Honrado, terminal manager Cecilio Bobila and public affairs chief Consuelo Bungag heaped praises on Gadayan for his honesty.
Honrado said he will recommend that Gadayan be given recognition by the airport management.
Gadayan, who did not open the bag and only learned what it contained much later, tried to downplay his good deed and said returning a lost item was a natural thing to do.
“They said they were all thankful that there was a good person like me who’s honest and was not tempted to take the bag for myself. But I wasn’t at all interested in keeping it. I grew up poor but my parents have always reminded me not to take what’s not mine,” Gadayan said.
(Story courtesy of Jerome Aning of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)