Taxi driver ‘deserves a gold medal’ after returning wallet to Pan Am athlete

TORONTO – A taxi driver “deserves gold medal” in honesty after he returned the wallet of a Cuban athlete competing at the 2015 Pan Am Games, police say.

John Strickland picked up Dailenys Alcantara Pacheco, 23, at the Gerrard Square Wal-Mart in the city’s east-end at approximately 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday Toronto Police said Det. Sgt. Ian McArthur wrote in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Pacheco is a track and field athlete who competed in the triple jump at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, finishing fifth overall.

Pacheco was heading to the Athletes’ Village and realized she forgot her wallet inside the cab after paying her fare. The wallet contained all her identification and a “significant sum of cash,” the statement reads.

READ MORE: Canadian runners ‘doing phenomenal things’ at the Pan Am Games

After realizing what had happened Pacheco approached a nearby Toronto police officer and with the assistance of a Spanish-language translator the officer was able to determine the cab was a “silver taxi.”

Minutes later, the same taxi returned to the Village, where Strickland handed the Cuban athlete her wallet.

“Mr. Strickland deserves a gold medal for his honesty,” McArthur said in the statement. “He is a true ambassador of our city.”

Strickland is an independent cabbie who has been driving a taxi in Toronto for more than 35 years. Without his help, police say, recovering the wallet would have been highly unlikely.

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