Bus driver shocked when rider turns in $8,000 left on ATA bus

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was the honest thing to do.

That's what took place when a rider on a Kansas City ATA bus made a startling discovery, and his bud driver says he wanted to do the right thing.

In 17 years of driving a KCATA bus, Manuel Tapia says it's the strangest thing a rider has ever turned in. Tapia says he was driving one of his normal routes on March 13th -- from downtown to KCI Airport and back -- when a passenger brought him a bag filled with money.

Tapia says it was his second run to the airport that day, and the man who handed him the bag was a regular passenger. The bus' onboard cameras show that man taking the man, which was found in the seat beside him, to Tapia at the bus' steering wheel.

"I did not check it immediately. I just stood there from him and put it here next to me," Tapia told FOX 4 News.

But once he did, he found a small fortune in large bills. Tapia says they were tucked into a pair of white envelopes.

"I looked inside the envelopes, and there was all kinds of money. 100-dollar bills," Tapia said.

It was somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000, according to KCATA spokesperson Cindy Baker. Tapia says riders turn in items all the time, but this one was memorable. The ATA requires drivers to report lost items, but that policy aside, Tapia says it's the right thing to do.

"That's my job. I feel good when I do that, when I find something," Tapia said on Friday.

A posting on the KCATA website indicates the money and its rightful owner were eventually reunited. Kansas City Police were eventually brought in to help with that reunion. Tapia says he never got the chance to meet the passenger who left that money behind. If he could, he'd thank him for riding, and ask him to keep better track of his money.