NEIL McKenzie finds out tonight if he is the NSW Country Taxi Driver of the Year.
The Woolgoolga cabbie, 40, is one of three finalists in the prestigious awards, which will be announced at a ceremony in Sydney.
“I'm pretty proud of it. It's an achievement I never expected to come my way,” Neil said.
“Woolgoolga Taxis runs a really personalised service. The community relies on us as much as we rely on them.
“We are there to serve the community. We certainly go out of our way to help our customers, and I'd like to see more cabbies doing it.”
Customers on the Coffs Coast and throughout NSW were invited to nominate their favourite driver based on knowledge and skills, courtesy and helpfulness, their personal and vehicle presentation, safety and comfort, and overall customer service.
Neil has been driving taxis full time in the Woolgoolga area for four years, and served his apprenticeship in Coffs Harbour. Before that he was a courier and a truckie, so driving has been a big part of his life.
“I love driving and I love getting along with people,” Neil said. “Every day is a new scene. You never know what your next job is, and you get a different conversation each day.”
The key to being a good taxi driver, he said, was to focus on service and people's needs, and having the ability to handle different situations.