Ottawa - The City presented special awards to six Ottawa taxi drivers for their excellent service at its Second Annual Taxi Driver Appreciation Celebration, held today at City Hall.
This annual award ceremony acknowledges and celebrates the great service provided by Ottawa taxi drivers. Customers and members of Ottawa’s taxi industry nominated candidates for five award categories: Excellent Customer Service, Access for All, Driver Role Model, Heroism and Lifetime Achievement.
“Today’s six award recipients have provided exemplary customer service through their kind and heroic actions,” said Councillor Mark Taylor, chair of Community and Protective Services Committee. “Their actions remind us why customer service in the taxi industry is so important to our community and economy. These helping hands and smiling faces play an important role in our transportation network every day.”
The award winners were:
George Jarawan (Excellent Customer Service Award)
George has been a driver for Blue Line Taxi for 23 years and receives many customer compliments for always going above and beyond the call of duty. George can provide tourist itineraries for two-hour or two-day visits to Ottawa in four different languages.
Marc Khouri (Access for All Award)
Marc has been driving for West-Way Taxi for nine years. He is recognized by his customers for his caring service and positive attitude.
Tesfai Asfaha (Driver Role Model Award)
During his 12-year career as a driver, Tesfai has demonstrated leadership and support for his colleagues. He says that while the job of driving a taxi can be stressful, it is also very rewarding and he his fortunate to have so many good friends in the business.
Saleh Moujally and Ibrahim Zreick (Heroism Award)
Saleh Moujally and Ibrahim Zreick each received the Heroism Award.
Saleh responded to an early morning call from a woman who awoke feeling ill. For the first time in her life the woman called for cab to take her to hospital as she did not want disturb her family. Saleh noticed that she was not well and rushed her to the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital. Once there, he accompanied her inside and ensured she got medical attention. The woman had suffered a heart attack and Saleh’s fast response helped save her life.
Ibraham went to pick up a customer to transport her to her dialysis appointment. When she did not answer the door he proceeded to knock loudly and call her name. Her heard her faint voice inside and asked if he could come in. Ibraham found the customer on the floor and unable to get back into her wheelchair. He assisted her into her chair and made sure she was comfortable for transportation to the hospital. Once at the hospital Ibraham took his customer inside and made sure she was safe with the hospital staff. If the customer had been left on the floor, she may have died. When asked about his act of heroism, he said, “we may all be in place where we need help some day.”
Bruce Mitchell (Lifetime Achievement Award)
With 23 years of service, Bruce has served thousands of customers and may have driven over a million miles! His personality and excellent customer service have left customers and visitors with a great impression of Ottawa’s taxi drivers.
The City licenses over 1,200 taxis and over 2,500 taxi drivers who provide an estimated 38,000 trips a day or almost 12 million trips annually. The Taxi Driver Awards are a way to acknowledge and promote great service for our residents and visitors. Customers are encouraged to report good service by providing the driver’s name or cab number to the taxi company or to the City at email@example.com.