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Phuket taxi driver Peerasuwat Khaithat: hailed for his honesty

Phuket Should Hail This Honest Taxi Driver

Friday, August 28, 2009
WHAT would you do if someone put a wallet containing 26,000 baht in cash in your hand?

If you are an honest Phuket taxi driver, like Peerasuwat Khaithat, you won't think twice about your choices.

You'll return the wallet and the money to its rightful owner as soon as possible.

Khun Peerasuwat, 50, from Chalong, has been driving a taxi, based on the stand at Central Festival, for five years now.

On August 12, around 3pm, he was parked at number three spot in the rank at Central. He saw some teens mucking about nearby, and he spotted a wallet on the ground.

He picked it up. ''Is this yours?'' he began asking people. Nobody claimed it. It would have been easy for him to pocket the wallet, and the money.

Instead, he went to the man who controls the taxis and tuk-tuks in the rank and together they went to the public relations office at the shopping centre.

They left the wallet with public relations. Khun Peerasuwat got a call almost immediately to take a couple of customers to a jewelry shop in Patong.

When he returned to the rank a couple of hours later, he noticed a man and a woman walking nearby, looking around, clearly upset.

The penny dropped, just the way the wallet did.

Khun Peerasuwat introduced himself to the couple, a husband and wife from Russia who were staying at Le Meridien Phuket. They had been doing some shopping . . . until the wallet vanished.

''I can tell you where it is,'' the honest taxi driver said. And he took them to the public relations office.

His reward: a teary embrace from a grateful couple. They not only had their 26,000 baht in cash back, but also their credit cards.

Their holiday was not spoiled. They could get back to having fun.

What makes an honest taxi driver?

''It's not just me,'' he said. ''There are plenty of honest people on Phuket.

''Once, I lost 10,000 baht in a wallet near a bank in Phang Nga Road. I needed that money to pay for my house in Chalong. I have a wife and two young children to support.

''A woman street cleaner found my wallet. She was pregnant and probably could have use the money.

''Instead, being Muslim and honest, she handed it in to a film shop near the bank. She keep asking people in the street whether they had lost a wallet.

''Eventually, she asked me. I got my wallet back, thanks to an honest person. So I know the feeling.''

Not everyone in this story is a hero.

Once Khun Peerasuwat had established his identity, the owner of the film shop insisted that he pay 1000 baht before getting his wallet back.

Unimpressed with the film shop man but still appreciative of honesty, Khun Peerasuwat offered the woman who found his money a reward. But she didn't want one.

He did take her name and telephone number. When she gave birth, he visited her in hospital. Now they are friends.

Khun Peerasuwat's good deed was recognised at a small gathering at le Meridien Phuket last week.

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Comments

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Nice to see the guy get recognition for his good deeds!

He benefited from honesty before so he was able to pass on this gift to the Russian tourists who should now pass on to others.

Good karma goes around!

Posted by James on August 28, 2009 16:10

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Cheers for K. Peerasuwat!

In similar circumstances, I often have to remind myself to do the right thing, as follows:

"If it's a small amount of money, then why not do the right thing? And, if it's large amount of money, then it's a tremendous opportunity to do the right thing."

Posted by D on August 28, 2009 17:01

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In April I took a taxi from my hotel near Karon Beach over to Phuket Town to catch the ferry to Phi Phi. When I paid the driver I inadvertently handed the driver an additional 500 baht that was stuck to one of the other bills. He got in his car and drove away. While I'm in line to buy a ferry ticket someone taps me on the shoulder. It was the taxi driver. He came back to say that I paid him too much. I tipped him a second time.

Posted by Jordon in Seattle on August 28, 2009 21:55

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Kia Ora from New Zealand

I agree with 'James' and 'D'. A small story in world terms, perhaps, but the action by Khun Peerasuwat deserves to be recognised and an example to all of us no matter where we live.

I have to say that it is also typical of the many I have come to know in Phuket over 15 years or so, actions typically 'buried' under news about 'bad things'!!

Now, can someone give me Khun Peerasuwat's contact/mobile. I would like to express my appreciation by engaging his services next time I am in Phuket.

Posted by rfdunedin on August 30, 2009 08:04


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