Last June we did something unheard of: we hired a grade twelve student to run an important social media campaign for our business. The goal was to bring the lives and stories of our taxi community to life from a student perspective. It was a leap of faith and an instinct that creating this unique experience for a student and our staff would be meaningful on many levels.
Sydney was the first and last person we interviewed for the job. She was almost seventeen at the time, and looking back we are amazed at what she accomplished at such a young age.
To date Sydney has interviewed over 30 drivers, staff, management, community leaders ranging from Halton Learning Foundation to The Hamilton Mission Services. Her work includes: self-lead interviews, adapting them into written biographies and her own photography.
We are most proud to show off her project “Who’s Driving You” and are grateful for the experience she has afforded us all. Congratulations Sydney!
After 35 years, Scott has grown accustomed to the worry that comes with running a taxi business. Transporting 1.5 million people with taxis travelling over 15 million miles a year, you come to expect challenges. Thankfully, Scott has also grown to rely heavily on a staff that deals with every issue from accidents to poor weather, and knows how lucky he is to work with such a dedicated group of people.
“That’s why I was struck with the Who’s Driving You Campaign,” says Scott. “These people often go unacknowledged for the transportation our city relies on. Some of our drivers have dedicated over 25 years of snowy roads and late night shifts; many transport hundreds of children to school and get our seniors to their appointments; our call centre staff take thousands of calls daily, assuring customers their taxi is on its way; all of this possible thanks to our mechanics that come to work at 5am every morning, ensuring vehicles are safe for the road.”
“So, what better way to acknowledge their hard work than by sharing their stories,” he adds. “We have such a diverse group of people from all over the world and they come together to offer the people of Burlington the best possible service. Sounds simple but it’s anything but.”
With the end of the social media series, here is a final thank you to the dedicated drivers, call centre staff, mechanics and our administration, from Scott and the rest of the BT family.
#studentjournalist #andtheboss #collab
As a passenger in a taxi, Sara would often feel nervous and vulnerable. For Sara, and many of us, it can be difficult to trust a complete stranger in the driver’s seat. It wasn’t until she found herself on the inside of the taxi business that Sara could see the drivers for who they were: recent immigrants starting new lives; retirees looking to share their stories; students needing flexible shifts; all unique human beings. “There’s an unfortunate contrast between what you see as a passenger and what you see as a co-worker or a friend,” Sara remarks. But in the eyes of this inspired Director of Community and Communications, it was not a barrier so strong that it could not be broken. Thus, the Who’s Driving You series was born. Telling the stories of the unsung heroes at BT would show the community that not all taxi drivers have to stay strangers; Sara’s vision became a reality. This was not the only vision she saw for this series. “The real gift of this project is creating a community from the inside out.” Building a driver-staff community is what Sara has strived for all along, and this series has brought her one step closer. With community comes raised morale and a stronger passion for the job that Sara herself feels every day. “The power of community cannot be understated: to be connected, to be valued, to be heard and to be understood. We all want that, don’t we? Community keeps us healthy and thriving in our own lives.”
John fell in love with horse races before he was old enough to bet on them. Growing up next to a racing track in Nova Scotia, it’s not hard to believe that harness racing was in his blood. If you are like me, this is the first you’ve heard of it: harness racing is a sport where the race horse pulls a two-wheeled cart or “sulky” with a driver inside. John invested his life into racing; by his late twenties, he was conquering up to $300,000 wins! Soon after moving to Burlington in 1983, John met a crossroads in his life. Either he and his wife would uproot their new lives in Burlington to follow his racing career to USA, or he would put his family first. “In the end, my job went to the US – but I didn’t,” John reflects without regret. In the position to try something new, John found a job as a driver at Burlington Taxi. Though a rocky start full of wrong turns (it’s hard to drive a taxi in a city you barely know your way around!), John grew to love his new career and the family time that came with it. “That’s why I stayed and took up driving. We love Burlington.” 30 years later, John, his wife, kids and 3 young grandchildren, are happy right where they are.
Paul spent most of his life as a widely celebrated chef. “My claim to fame: working for Sean Connery at his own table in 1988.” This high-stakes career had Paul jumping from country to country for years, keeping up with the ever-growing expectations of a professional chef. His lifestyle was nonstop until a life changing accident in 2000. Paul was doing roofing work and fell, completely shattering his foot and leaving him in a wheelchair for a year. Unable to continue as a chef without mobility, Paul was thrown from the life he’d always known. The adjustment to life in a wheelchair was huge, but with the resourceful and adaptable qualities Paul was known for as a chef, adjust he did. Now out of his wheelchair, but unable to stand for extended periods of time, Paul lives with an insider’s understanding of physical disability. Insight that comes in handy in his new career as a wheelchair taxi driver. “Having first hand experience, you have a lot more compassion,” he explains. Though he misses the pace of his old job, Paul finds fulfillment in speaking with his special needs passengers, both as a driver and as someone who understands.
Our student journalist is on hiatus this week at the annual OFSAA Swim meet in Windsor. Sydney is travelling with the senior team from Burlington Central competing with swimmers from all over Ontario. In lieu of a Burlington Taxi bio, we thought we’d share a photo of Sydney’s swim team hamming it up in the pool. Good luck Sydney and Central!! Hope the meet is fun and a great finale to all of your hard work this year!
“I’m in semi-retirement mode,” says Peter, driver of 30 years. In a life so jam-packed with close friends, driving, golf and grandkids, it seems Peter’s in for a busy retirement. His story began 30 years ago when Peter quit his stressful job in metal management. Searching for an “in-between” job to keep him moving, he discovered a driving position at Burlington Taxi. “And 30 years later, here I am!” Peter’s new position suited his need for flexibility and freedom; just the way he suited BT’s need for someone lighthearted and focused. In a job so perfectly fit for him, why look anywhere else! Throughout a long career of dedication, Burlington Taxi has had the pleasure of watching Peter grow over the years. On one hand, some of Peter’s fellow drivers have become his closest friends (and golfing buddies). On the other hand, Peter and his wife Heather, “soulmates as some would say,” have watched their small household grow. Now celebrating eight beautiful grandchildren, Peter continues to grow as a driver and even more importantly, a father and grandfather.
Not everyone is capable of working in geriatrics. Taking care of seniors, especially those battling dementia, requires someone with immense patience and kindness in their heart. Amanda is exactly that person. Within minutes of meeting her, Amanda’s soft spoken jokes and glowing smile make it clear that she is meant to work closely with people. And for the last 6 years she did with a position in geriatrics, until Amanda found herself needing extra work. Her close friend suggested an open spot at BT in dispatch. So weeks later, on top of caring for patients with dementia full time, Amanda was also dispatching every Saturday. Slowly growing tired from her constant responsibilities, Amanda reluctantly gave up her job in geriatrics and became a full time driver for Burlington Taxi. Despite being a hard choice to make, Amanda’s decision led her to another job she truly belongs in; one where she works closely with people. Though she misses the time spent with her patients, Amanda loves talking to seniors everyday as a driver.
“When you’re retired you do things from your bucket list,” says Roger, a retired Principal Superintendent. “And after I stopped working, my life was missing something: people.” For Roger, 10 years of developing curriculum, hiring staff, and bringing new technology to high schools was just as demanding as it was fulfilling. When Roger decided it was time to retire, he enjoyed the relief from his many responsibilities but felt the loss of the social scene that he had come to love. Reaching out to family friends at Burlington Taxi, Roger asked if there was any demand for a fill-in driver. Almost 3 months later, Roger is glad he did! Working whenever he is needed, Roger enjoys the excitement of seeing new faces every day while still having time to do the things he loves. He has time to look after his grandson every Tuesday and Thursday, attend his daughter’s dance competitions and even train his son’s rep baseball team (a sport inherited from Roger himself.) Sharing his everyday with his beautiful family while experiencing the thrill of meeting new people as a driver, Roger’s life is filled to the brim with his favourite bucket list item: people.
Six years ago, Al was a lively trade show representative when he broke his ankle. In the bustling, active environment he worked in, Al’s injury meant he would have to put his career on pause. But if you know anything about Al and his enthusiasm for life, you’ll know that this pause wouldn’t last long. Immediately, he was on the look-out for something new and quickly found an open position at Burlington Taxi. “I’ve always been good at reading and interacting with people,” Al remarks. “Doesn’t matter if they’re in a taxi or a trade show.” By transferring his aptitude for people into his work as a driver, Al has quickly become a favourite and receives frequent customer requests. Even when he’s not working, Al likes to stay on the go seeing as many new faces as he can. In fact, just a week before his interview, he had returned from a trip to Egypt with his son. “I’ve been to China, Moscow, the Caribbean, 29 countries in total – so far.” ‘So far’ being the key term here, Al continues to push himself above and beyond the expectations of driver and traveler.
In fact, he doesn’t refer to himself as a manager at all. “I hate the term manager because I don’t manage people,” he insists. “I create an environment in which people can manage themselves.” The invisible force behind Burlington Taxi, this “Operational Lead” works tirelessly behind the scenes 24/7. In a decision quite fitting to his nature, he requested not to have his name or photo included in this bio. Instead I’ve photographed something that defines this man better than any portrait could; his infamously note-covered, wall length white board. “Think of it as a giant post it note.” A way to keep track of the countless ideas, trends, and potential problems floating through his head, this cluster of raw information keeps him one step ahead. As dealing with any and every unforeseen occurrence is the operational lead’s main responsibility, he says that the only thing more important than fixing problems is preventing them. “I should be able to anticipate what is going to happen. I know my I’m doing my job well when there’s nothing to do.” A job that truly requires around-the-clock focus, he asks for no credit as he redefines the word dedication everyday.
Taking on one of the most difﬁcult yet rewarding jobs out there, Lynda pressed pause on her career to raise her 4 children. After years of caring for her family, her youngest found her way to kindergarten and Lynda found her way to Burlington Taxi’s administrative team. “I started coming in just on Mondays; that’s our busiest day. By the time they needed someone part time, I was there!” It was insight and perfect timing that brought Lynda into her role, but what kept her there for the next 16 years was much more. Working closely with her cousin Ruth and the rest of the Administrative team, Lynda watched the incredible women around her become close friends and conﬁdants. “I love working with the women I work with. They’re so easy to talk to, and the reason I enjoy coming to work every morning.” Sharing stories, advice and the occasional lunch out, Lynda’s small community in Administration is what she loves most about her position. And Burlington Taxi loves Lynda too. With incredible focus and efﬁciency in everything she touches, Lynda is known as a friend you can count on both in and outside of the ofﬁce.
When Burlington Taxi Administration asked Chris for a written job description, he handed in two full pages. As General Manager, he covers hiring and training new drivers, managing car maintenance and all of Burlington Taxi’s IT needs just to scratch the surface. If there’s a job to be done, Chris is your guy. A man of many hats, he thrives on the constant change and challenge of his responsibilities. “I don’t know what my day’s going to bring until I get here. That’s the best part.” Chris’ love for unpredictability doesn’t end at his office door. At home, he and his wife share a passion for motorcycling. In his 35 years of riding, Chris has found that there is nothing straightforward about the power of a bike. Add that to his background in teaching motorcycle safety, and Chris has become an expert on all the complex challenges of riding. “It’s not something you can just pick up, it’s all about awareness.” And that comes with time and experience… yet another set of skills that Chris has mastered. With years of experience that stretch from the office to the open road, Chris wears his many hats with pride.
With a Masters in Kinesiology, Kendra found her way to a great job as a software implementation specialist in the fitness market. It should have been a perfect fit, but travelling from city to city, barely getting to know people just didn’t suit her. Kendra felt like something was missing. While she never would have guessed her future as Burlington Taxi’s Community Manager, when she got the position she realized that community was exactly what she had been looking for. “The involvement with people is perfect. I love that I can develop relationships and be surrounded by people who love their jobs as much as I do.” From internal communications and appreciation events to sponsorships, customer relationships, research and marketing, Kendra’s many skills are tested everyday. Thankfully, Kendra is always up for a challenge. “I’m constantly learning. Always evolving.” A year and a half later, Kendra is blossoming in her role and building her community from the inside out.
In less than a year, all six of Wael’s kids will be university and college graduates. A proud father and selﬂess man, everything Wael does is for the people around him. After owning his own raw materials business in Jordan for 30 years, Wael left his old life to bring his wife and kids to Canada. Deciding that family came ﬁrst, Wael skipped the time consuming re-schooling required to start up his old career in Canada, and became a Burlington Taxi driver. This decision does more for his family than just give them more time together. “I plan my hours around my youngest daughter’s commute to Seneca College. I arrive at 4:30AM to drop her off at the carpool and end my shift at 6:00PM to bring her back to Grimsby.” Wael’s love of helping others spreads far beyond his family. As the president of the Palestinian Association of Hamilton, he brings a sense of community to local Palestinian Canadians. Passionate about his family, his community and his future, Wael is an inspiration to the people in every pocket of his life; including those at Burlington Taxi.
“Go” is an abstract strategy board game for two players where the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. Winning a round takes long hours of dedicated practice, extreme focus and dynamic strategy. Three things that Daesung says he practices everyday as a driver at Burlington Taxi. “It is important to be able to think on your feet – for playing go and driving a taxi.” Doing both on a daily basis, Daesung plays GO online with other skilled players every night after work. It’s a pastime that keeps his mind sharp and gives him something to do during his retirement. With this thought-provoking hobby plus his early morning shifts at Burlington Taxi, Daesung’s days are full. Clearly a man of many talents, Daesung is also known by his colleagues as a man of many nick-names! Ranging from Dave to SuperDave to Dr.Chi, he is a driver everyone enjoys. Daesung is a much appreciated driver who holds a special place in the Burlington Taxi family.
Jen is undoubtedly, undeniably a people person. This charismatic driver spends just about every moment of everyday surrounded by people – and she doesn’t mind a bit. To give you a feel for her schedule, Jen is a mother of 4, runner of a home daycare, chair of her kids’ school council, a mud-runner, a beaver leader for her troop of 32 little scouts and of course, a taxi driver on weekends. “You just kind of make time,” says Jen. Being a huge part of so many different groups takes a great sense of humour and a true love of people. Thankfully Jen is equipped with both. When she’s driving, Jen adores joking around with her passengers and has hundreds of funny stories to tell of the people she’s met. For most, spending so much time surrounded by people takes a lot of work. But, with a personality like Jen’s that uplifts and inspires everyone around her, being a people person just comes naturally.
After only 6 months of driving with Burlington Taxi, Emil was already receiving customer compliments. Much to everyone’s surprise, almost solely from Burlington’s senior citizens. “I like talking to seniors,” expresses Emil, “there’s substance with older people.” Coming from a long career in the fitness industry, Emil would have never guessed at his future as a well-loved driver. Just as he found himself tired of the repetitive days and constant injuries, a job at BT became available. The rest is history! Telling countless heartwarming stories of the wonderful elderly people he’s met, Emil says “I treat them as friends. Unfortunately the way society is, older people don’t always get very much attention.” Although I’m sure it has a lot to do with his welcoming and kindhearted approach to new people, we could all learn a little from Emil; give everyone the attention they deserve.
Jim is a driver who doesn’t need a map. A deeply rooted Burlingtonian who has lived in this city his whole life, Jim knows just about every street there is. “That’s my strength, my memory,” he says. It’s not just directions that Jim remembers either. He picks up names, faces and even conversations he has with his regular customers. Jim remembers countless stories from old passengers and loves that he’s able to continue the conversation on the next drive – even if it’s years later! “Some of the connections you make are qui te amazing.” During his interview, Jim recalls the beginning of his Burlington Taxi career back in 1981 while he was working at Stelco. When he and his colleagues went on strike, Jim worked as a Burlington Taxi driver to ﬁll the time (125 days exactly as he recalls). Jim eventually left Stelco for a 20 year career at Dover Packaging. When the company closed, he turned to Burlington Taxi just as he had 30 years before. Memories and traditions are a big part of Jim’s life and the Burlington Taxi family’s too.
Crystal was born and raised 3 hours from the city in a small town in Newfoundland. Spending a comfortable childhood in the same place with the same families from grades 1-12 was a far cry from the speed and diversity of the life she lives now in Burlington. One that’s ﬁlled with new people and constant change. Crystal’s amazing adaptability came right out of her small community. “In Newfoundland, everyone was ﬁghting over the same opportunities.” Always adapting her skill set to ﬁt what was needed of her as a kid, Crystal learned to deal with just about everything life throws at her; a skill that comes in handy as the lead dayshift dispatcher. That and her great sense of humour are all she needs to lighten the mood and keep dispatch running smoothly. Crystal’s aptitude for comedy also came from the household she grew up in. Her father was always performing in comedy skits when Crystal was young. Making people laugh wherever he went – Crystal is a chip off the old block. After almost 11 years at Burlington Taxi, Crystal remembers her childhood in Newfoundland fondly. Without it, she wouldn’t be the hilarious, inviting and adaptable person she is today.
Peter is one of those people who ﬁlls every aspect of his life with dedication. Frequenting the Fitness Firm about 6 times a week, Peter proves his commitment to a healthy lifestyle every day. “It’s not hard to do because I love coming here,” he explains. “I’ve been working out here for years, it’s a real close community.” Peter puts just as much care into his time driving with BT. Keeping customers comfortable, making people laugh, and “yacking away the whole drive,” are just a few of the ways he goes the extra mile. Whether he’s at work with customers or at the gym with his buddies, Peter always gives it his all. Acknowledged for his exemplary customer service, Peter was awarded by Tourism Burlington in 2016. A natural host and ambassador to this ﬁne city, you’re lucky if you ﬁnd Peter as your driver.
It takes a certain type of person to talk to new people all day, everyday. Jim is one of those people. Being a tech-savvy-social butterﬂy, Jim brings a very special set of skills to the Burlington Taxi team. Throughout his 20 years as a dispatcher and driver, Jim has grown to love the independence of the job. In his own words, “It’s one of those jobs where your put your own effort in. What you give is what you get.” And it’s not just in his career that Jim constantly gives it his all. After a long day at work, Jim goes home to experiment with his camera specializing in close-up #insectphotography. Learn more about Jim and his passion for photography at his ﬂickr page Jim Pudd: http://ow.ly/fAmE307U4Xv
“Dispatch is like a chess game,” claims Tabitha, one of Burlington Taxi’s key dispatchers. “The cabs are like the pieces and we’re the ones who move them around.” Just as strategic as any competitive chess player, Tabitha spends her days helping customers, coordinating drivers, problem solving and making sure that each taxi knows exactly where it needs to be. Starting out just over 8 years ago as a Friday night dispatcher, Tabitha has worked her way up into full time employment because of her upbeat and friendly personality. She’s one of those people who gets along with just about everybody! After all of her experience talking to people over the phone and ﬁlling out customer’s requests, Tabitha (like every other good chess player) has begun to notice patterns. “Don’t ask me why but people are always losing stuff on full moons.” So keep a tight grip on your wallet and keys on January 12th, and when you still have them the next morning you’ll have Tabitha to thank.
“You’d like it, you’d be good at it, but you won’t last long because you’re too nice.” That’s what 66 year old driver Randy was told when he ﬁrst considered working at Burlington Taxi. While the ﬁrst two remarks were spot on, Randy’s niceness hasn’t stopped him from driving yet; in fact, we think it’s done quite the opposite! “I am inspired by the job,” he says. After talking to Randy for only a couple of minutes it’s clear that the word inspired is an understatement. Not only is he inspired but inspirational himself. Randy has an exceptional ability to engage and share with people; making strangers feel like friends after just one conversation. He is one of those people that seems to know something about life that we don’t. But hey, don’t worry about it, Randy is happy to share his wisdom whenever he can. He says that the key to a happy life if very simple! PMA – positive mental attitude – is all you need. So next time you’re having a rough day give PMA a try, because I think Randy is onto something!
Upfront and honest, that’s Misty. Starting her 22 years at Burlington Taxi as a dispatcher, Misty quickly learned that being to-the-point was an important skill of the trade. By the time she began looking for more in her career and found her way to administration, this practice had become a part of her warm and generous personality. Now, as a self-proclaimed hockey mom and mother of 2 boys, Misty ﬁnds her joy in helping others. Calling herself the resident baker and shopper, Misty is always helping friends in the ofﬁce pick out christmas gifts and bringing in treats on her co-workers’ birthdays. “Sometimes they’re my guinea pigs,” she says, “I’ll try out a recipe and if it goes over well at the ofﬁce, I’ll keep it for the kids.” Clearly, Misty’s ambition, generosity and amazing cooking aren’t just an asset to her, but the whole Burlington Taxi family!
Al is the man who’s done everything. He has worked in every job from candy sales with companies like Lifesavers and Hershey’s, to a business position in pharmaceuticals. Experimenting with law, academics and even marathon running along the way, Al ﬁnally decided that is was time to retire. But for someone who has always had so many things on his plate, that’s easier said than done. Looking for a new challenge, Al found his way to Burlington Taxi! Now working as a driver, Al claims that his many jobs, including taxi driving, really aren’t as different as they seem. “It’s all about customer service,” he says. “You work with the people, help them out however you can, and just be pleasant.” Even after retirement, Al’s busy days aren’t over yet. Driving with the BT team, keeping his mind active, and going for frequent walks to honour his marathoning days, Al certainly has his plate full. Just the way he likes it.
“Playing a part in other peoples’ success is always exciting.” As assistant director of Hamilton’s Mission Service, Shawn has the chance to do so daily. Making relationships with people of all walks of life, Shawn finds himself inspired by their stories of resilience. Recently, through Shawn’s passionate storytelling, we had the privilege of hearing some of their stories too.
“I met a man a number of years ago who was at a true crossroad in his life. His marriage had broken down, he was on the verge of losing custody of his two young children, and was about to be evicted from his home. On top of that, he was looking at the very real possibility of being sent to federal prison. In a somewhat surprising decision, the judge in his case had opted not to sentence this man to a single day in jail. While at the time, this seemed like a happy end to the story, it really was just another beginning. Over the course of the next couple of years, he felt the joy of his successes and the sting of his many setbacks. Nothing came easily for him but he worked hard and he found happiness, even in his struggles. It’s always remarkable to see how much people can achieve.”
Everyone involved with Hamilton’s Mission Service has their own story of resilience, even if they alone don’t realize it. Sometimes all it takes to to appreciate your own story, is to have someone like Shawn tell it.
The City of Hamilton is on a mission to end homelessness. Over the past couple of years, huge efforts have been made to bring food, clothing and permanent housing to it’s citizens in need. Incredibly, this last year alone has seen a 35% reduction in chronic homelessness! But the job isn’t done yet meaning resources like Hamilton’s Mission Services are more important than ever. “Being open 24/7, there are always people coming through,” says assistant director Shawn. “We’re almost always at our capacity of 58 guests and are giving out donated clothing around the clock.”
When it comes to these important donations, the first items that come to mind are coats, boots, shirts and sweaters; and as welcomed as these items are, Mission Services often find themselves all stocked up. “Socks are items that men ask for everyday and people rarely think to donate.” Burlington Taxi’s sock box is an appreciated initiative that brings the most needed item to the people most in need, including those at Hamilton’s Mission Services.
This Christmas morning, Your Little Bit of Help will donate over one hundred gift bags full of generously donated necessities to local homeless shelters. This being the 7th year of massive donations and huge success, it’s hard to believe that the whole endeavour began with a single family! “I wanted something for us to do on Christmas morning,” says Angie Richardson, founder of Your Little Bit of Help. “Something to show my stepson that not everyone lives the way we do.”And that was all it took! That winter, Angie was collecting clothing, toiletries, blankets; as much as she could over the 2 months leading up to Christmas. When the morning of the 25th came around, Angie and her family drove out to the shelters to give their astounding collections in person. “They were so well received – especially in the men’s shelters – it was incredible,” Angie remarks. With a new focus on men for the following years, Your Little Bit of Help has only grown since. Through all of her hard work driven by generosity, Angie has been able to remind Burlington what the holidays are really about. Giving.
Poverty exists in every country on the map. Yet as a student, I think I often forget about the issues that take place right here in my own neighbourhood. It wasn’t until I spoke with Randy, a principal involved in the Halton Learning Foundation, that I was even aware of this incredible local charity. “The HLF is a non-for-profit that focuses on students in the HDSB who are restricted from learning,” he explains. Whether they are in need of food, transportation, or even a pair of gym shoes, HLF allows families to get the financial help they need. “It’s about equity. Every student deserves an equal chance to succeed.”
As an organization that is near and dear to our community, Burlington Taxi sponsors an annual event to support Halton Students. If you’re lucky enough to catch a ride with Mr or Mrs. Claus on the 23rd, the taxi fare is paid by BT and will be donated to HLF. Randy’s right when he says, “It’s easy to overlook the need in your own community when you don’t see it first hand.” Let’s remember to support one another this holiday season no matter the scale.
When asked why she came to Burlington Taxi, Sheryl said simply, “I needed to do something to toughen me up.” Claiming she was “a total push-over at the time,” becoming a wheelchair driver was Sheryl’s way of initiating a change. But soon after she started, Sheryl found that moving her customers’ heavy wheelchairs into her taxi was no small feat. “Some of the guys made bets about how long I would last,” Sheryl remembers with a laugh. “Most people thought I couldn’t keep the job for over a week!” Needless to say that after 10 years of happy customers and dedication, Sheryl proved them wrong. In 2015 Sheryl was awarded Tourism Burlington’s Customer Service Award for outstanding contributions to the City of Burlington. Now, with tons of close co-worker friendships, a true love for the job and of course her new toughness of character, she’s glad she stuck it out through the hard work. While the job has it’s challenges, Sheryl says the amazing passengers she meets everyday make the extra effort worthwhile.
Adam used to dream of being a railway conductor. When he ﬁrst applied he was told right away that he was too young. Not letting that stop him, 27 year old Adam came to Burlington Taxi to get a little bit of transportation experience under his belt. As soon as he began driving, Adam fell in love with the job: the supportive staff, interesting customer conversations, and most importantly the way that each day could be so different from the rest. “Everyday is a totally new day. Waking up in the morning you never know what new amazing person you’re going to meet.” After 2 years as a driver at Burlington Taxi, Adam realized that there were broader horizons out there for him. Instead of conducting, Adam would go down a different path – one that included Burlington Taxi. Now at age 29, Adam is working part time and attending Mohawk College for Accounting. We’re so glad Adam found his place in the Burlington Taxi family. With his great personality and charisma, we couldn’t imagine him being a better ﬁt anywhere else!
Ruth describes herself as a “5:30 in the morning girl.” Waking up early every morning to care for her 98 year old grandma before work, Ruth is an expert at making every little moment count. Between supporting drivers, managing accounts, taking care of seniors, and countless other jobs as administrative supervisor, Ruth is kept on her toes! “I’m one of those people where if something needs to be done, I’ll do it.” Although she says she’s boring, Ruth’s life is anything but. She loves ﬁnding breaks in her busy schedule to sew, visit her kids and even hit the casinos with grandma. While the slots can be rewarding, Ruth ﬁnds the most happiness hanging out with her family. And of course that includes the family working right here at Burlington Taxi.
Raymond was the youngest of 18 children. Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Raymond left his small town and big family in pursuit of two things: his love for Ruth and his love of driving. Raymond began driving for Burlington Taxi in 1997 and never looked back. His friends will tell you he was meant for the road, loved being behind the wheel and took pride in his job from day one. He was always well dressed, his vehicle immaculate and went out of his way to help new drivers learn the trade. Raymond’s passion for back roads and road trips to The Sault with his wife Ruth are a couple of the many memories we share about Raymond’s love of driving. This weekend we retire Driver #85 in Raymond’s honour. He will be forever in our hearts. A member of the Burlington Taxi family always. Cheers to you Raymond!
*This insertion was written by the Burlington Taxi family.
Life doesn’t always work out exactly as planned. Sara planned to work an ofﬁce job in advertising. After going through years of college Sara realized the career she had always envisioned for herself just wasn’t right for her. She needed to start fresh. When a job opened up at Burlington Taxi, she decided to give driving a shot. In an instant, crowded ofﬁces became open roads, petty coworkers became interesting costumers and repetitive schedules became a fresh start every morning. “Not that I thought I’d ever be a taxi driver, but once I was – once I ﬁgured it all out – it was the perfect job for me.” Now, 15 years later she has no regrets. Talking to customers and meeting new people everyday, Sara has a chance to show off her great personality and sense of humour. “I had a customer say to me once, ‘I hope my daughter never becomes a taxi driver.’ I told her ‘well that’s just sad because it might change her life.” It’s true, life doesn’t always work out how we plan it. Sometimes (like in Sara’s case) it works out better.
Retirement didn’t suit Bob. After only 6 months of retirement following his 35 years as a practicing paramedic, Bob was in the simplest of terms – bored. He needed something to do with his time; a job where he could meet new people and in his words, “make retirement a little more worth while.” Bob turned to Burlington Taxi for a job as a driver. After 2 years of dedicated work we’re glad he did! Now in his much busier day-to-day life, Bob sets out to make meaningful connections with everyone he meets. Whether it’s driving teens with disabilities to school each morning, or seniors to the grocery store every afternoon, Bob has an uncanny ability to connect with people. Clearly it doesn’t matter if it’s an ambulance or a taxi, Bob has found his passion in helping people get where they need to go and making their time worthwhile along the way.
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