ONE CLASSY CABBY


By RITA DELFINER 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/48827.htm

HAILING THE DRIVER:
Polina Sirosh thanks hero hack Saiful Mondal, who
tracked her down to return her handbag, which she
wears here. "It's great that New York has people like
that," she said.
- NYP: Francis Specker  

May 27, 2002 -- Polina Sirosh left her handbag stuffed
with nearly $5,000 in cash on the back seat of a taxi
- and got every cent back. 
The lucky Manhattan photographic artist says it's
thanks to a determined and gentle cabby whom money
can't buy. 

The driver, Saiful Mondal, 34, tracked down Sirosh
using nothing more than her name on a bank card and
the business card of a renowned interior-design
architect he found in Sirosh's Fendi purse. 

Then, when she offered him a $500 reward, along with
her thanks, Mondal, a Queens computer student who is
putting himself through grad school and whose wife is
pregnant with their first child, refused. 

"That's not my money," said Mondal, who had been a
police officer in his native Bangladesh. 

Sirosh, 26, insisted. He compromised. 

"I told her, 'If you want, I can give that money to a
charity in Bangladesh. It is a very poor country,
believe me,' " said Mondal, who has lived here almost
seven years. 

Sirosh, who called The Post to rave about her hero
hack, said, "I think it's great that New York has
people like that." 

She said the lost-and-found adventure began May 4,
when she and her boyfriend had a downtown appointment
with famed architect Adam Tihany to show him her work.


It was a Saturday and she forgot that the cash she
planned to deposit in the bank was in a side pocket of
her purse. 

Later, she and her boyfriend hailed a cab - Mondal's -
to a TriBeCa restaurant. Sirosh got out holding her
big portfolios, and thought her boyfriend had her
purse. He didn't. 

The couple was in the restaurant when she realized it
was gone. 

Meanwhile, Mondal's next passenger had found the purse
in the cab and handed it to him. 

"I saw a lot of hundred dollar bills and some rolls of
film," Mondal said. "I think, maybe the film is very
important to that girl." 

He was determined to find her and return the film and
the $4,750. 

"I'm a Muslim, and my religion says when you have
something that's not yours, try to give it back to the
owner," he said. 

Mondal drove back to the restaurant, but she had left.
He went to a nearby police station house, but she had
not yet reported the loss. 

Remembering that he had picked her up at the same
address as that on Tihany's business card, Mondal
called his office, got Sirosh's number and called her.


"Hello, this is the cabdriver," Sirosh said he told
her. "Don't worry, I have your money. It's all safe." 

Taxi and Limousine Commission chief Matthew Daus said
Mondal's "professionalism and integrity are truly
representative of the vast majority of New York City
taxi drivers."





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