A Filipino taxi driver from Bohol who helped save lives during last Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada has been widely praised by his compatriots back home and by Boholanos from around the world.
Winifredo “Wennie” Maquindang, a native of Loboc town in Bohol, has become an instant celebrity online as thousands of Boholano netizens shared on social media the story about his heroic efforts of quickly transporting wounded strangers into his taxi cab amid panic and pandemonium on Las Vegas strip where a country music festival was held Sunday night, October 1 (Monday morning in the Philippines).
“I am proud of what he did. He makes every Filipino and Boholano proud of his action,” Boholano journalist Alan Nalzaro Dalagan, a resident of Loboc, told The Bohol Tribune in a phone interview.
“Good work! Boholanos are proud of you. All Filipinos too,” commented Marcosita Bernaldez Jabaybay on Facebook.
During Thursday’s Facebook Live interview hosted by Ted Ayeng and aired over station DYTR, Maquindang revealed that he was able to bring to the hospital six wounded strangers, who all got shot after a deranged man, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, rained with bullets thousands of people on revelry at a live concert.
Reacting to Ayeng’s post, 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.”
Maquindang narrated that around 10 p.m., while he was sitting 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.
Immediately, he said, he came out of his car and asked anyone who was wounded to get into his vehicle.
At least six bloodied persons were crammed inside Maquindang’s taxi car.
Maquindang said he never stopped, despite passing road intersections on 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 it was only a few years ago when Maquindang relocated to Las Vegas, after the Boholano native, now in his 60s, had worked as 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 be treated with a hero’s welcome in his Loboc hometown, famous for its relaxing river tour. (Ligalig Mike)