Taxi driver from Bohol helps save lives in Las Vegas shooting
BOHOL, Philippines - A taxi driver from Bohol who helped save lives during the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been widely praised by Filipinos for his heroic act.
Winifredo Maquindang, a native of Loboc town in Bohol, transported wounded passengers using his taxi on Sunday evening, October 1 (Monday in the Philippines), after a mass shooting in an open-air concert on a Las Vegas strip.
"I am proud of what he did. He makes every Filipino and Boholano proud of his action," local journalist Alan Nalzaro Dalagan, a resident of Loboc, told Rappler in a phone interview.
"Good work! Boholanos are proud of you. All Filipinos too," commented Marcosita Bernaldez Jabaybay on Facebook.
Reacting to another post about the taxi driver, Jean Timbal wrote of Maquindang: "Boy and I are so proud of you, a Boholano native, God bless you, Wen! We always ask Pari Eloy about you. So glad to hear the good deed you've done for others."
On Thursday, October 5, Maquindang guested in a Facebook Live interview hosted by broadcast journalist Ted Ayeng and aired over radio station dyTR.
In Thursday's interview, Maquindang revealed that he was able to bring to the hospital 6 wounded strangers, who got shot after 64-year-old gambler Stephen Paddock did the mass shooting.
Maquindang narrated that around 10 pm, while he was inside his taxi car which he parked near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, he heard loud shots, which, initially, he thought to be fireworks.
"Primero nagtuo ko nga fireworks ra to. Pagka hagbong sa mga basiyo sa bala, didto ko naka-realize nga tinuod armas diay to. Mao to nga nipaduol ko sa crowd, ug didto akong nakita ang daghan patay ug samaran (At first I thought it was just fireworks. But when empty shells of gun bullets fell nearby, I realized these must be gunshots. So I drove closer to the crowd, and there I saw many dead and wounded people)," Maquindang recounted.
Beating the red light
Immediately, he said, he came out of his cab and asked anyone who was wounded to get into his vehicle.
At least 6 bloodied persons were packed inside Maquindang's taxi.
Maquindang said he never stopped, despite occasional red traffic lights, when he drove the victims to the nearest hospital.
Jojo Balili, a Loboc resident and childhood friend of the Boholano hero, said on Ayeng's Facebook post that Maquindang relocated to Las Vegas only a few years ago.
Before this, the Boholano driver had worked as a taxi driver in Los Angeles, California, for more than 40 years.
Balili said Maquindang called him on the phone after the incident and recalled to him the harrowing moment when his friend saw bloodied people running – and many of them lying helpless on the pavement.
At least 58 persons were killed and more than 500 were wounded in the worst mass shooting in modern US history.
Meanwhile, Balili said Maquindang will soon visit Bohol, where he is expected to receive a hero's welcome in his hometown of Loboc, famous for its relaxing river tour. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com