24 Jan Driver in the Spotlight | Joseph Abboud
Joseph Abboud is the reigning Black & White Cabs and Queensland Taxi Council Driver of the Year.
We sat down with Joseph to learn more about what makes him tick – both on the job and in his down time.
Joseph immigrated to Sydney from Egypt in 1964 at the age of 9. He lived, worked and went to a catholic school in the then quiet Sydney suburb of Cabramatta.
Joseph began driving taxis in Sydney for Taxis Combined in 1987, for 3 years. He then moved to Brisbane in 1991.
“I fell in love with the Queensland weather and I haven’t looked back since”, Joseph remembers.
In 2008, after working in the credit industry for 15 years, Joseph decided it was time for a change and began driving a Business Class Taxi with Black & White Cabs in Brisbane. Since 2016 Joseph has been driving a taxi in the Redcliffe area, and after 12 years in the industry he still loves meeting new people every day.
“Doing different things every day, meeting new people and loving to drive is what gets me out of bed each morning. I still drive to Sydney four times a year, because I love driving that much. I’ve pretty much given up flying!”, he said.
When quizzed on what he thinks customers expect from the taxi industry, Joseph believes it comes down to one thing – customer service.
“With all the competition around it’s been a real challenge for the taxi industry lately. Brisbane expects us to be better than rideshare. And I think we are! The gap in pricing is pretty much non-existent now, so now it is just about customer service,” Joseph argues.
“Customer service is the key, and, it isn’t hard! Be there on time, pick them up, drop them off and remember your manners. It’s like the retail industry, if you don’t give good service, you won’t be around long!”.
Whilst Joseph says his career highlights are winning the Black & White Cabs and Queensland Taxi Council Driver of the Year, he also is proud of the work he does transporting school groups, the Department of Veteran Affairs and his work with Non-Urgent Patient Transport (NUPT).
“These are the jobs you love to do. Transporting these people really does put a smile on my face because it is my little contribution to the community. Dropping kids off to school, knowing they are safe, really is a highlight for me.”
MORE ABOUT JOSEPH ABBOUD
What is your favourite pastime?
Anything ‘Lords and Ladies’, dragons or medieval themed is what I love! I have volunteered at the Abbey Medieval Festival for 20 years and I just love it.
I spent my down time between work watching clips of ‘Game of Thrones’.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
We can all dream! Obviously I’d finish my commitments here, but then you wouldn’t see me for dust!
Without a doubt I’d buy a 4WD, a caravan and travel around Australia. I’d spend the summer in the south and the winter up North! Nothing excites me more than traveling around Australia!
What are your biggest tips for new drivers?
Stay plotted – I was always taught “no matter what happens, you stay plotted and you will get work.” And it’s true – stick to this and the work will come.
The other big thing is ‘wear your uniform’. It shows you have pride in what you’re doing, and in yourself.
What is the strangest request you’ve had from a customer?
You get a lot! Most recently, one of my regular customers got in my car and looked quite ill. I said to her “you need to go to the hospital!”. She said “no, I’m fine. Take me to the airport. But if I die on the way, promise me you’ll take my suitcase back to my house!” I just laughed and said, “you’re not going to die in my taxi!”.
This customer is a university professor who educates third world countries on how to grow fruit and veggies. We get along well and it’s one of the reasons I love my job so much – you get to meet great people who are making a different in the world!
Do you have any favourite quotes or mottos you live by?
No specific motto, but I’ve always said, ‘have fun while you’re at work”. If you can’t do that, then you aren’t in the right job. That’s what has always been my personal motto. Enjoy your day and have fun!
If you could meet any person living or dead, who would it be? And what would you say?
My dad, no question about it. He passed away 10 years ago now.
I would let him know how well I’m going! His goal was always to own his own business, and, in a way, I am doing that by driving my own taxi.
If you could choose to stay a certain age, what age would that be?
Well, I’m 64 now, so 64.
I’m a big believer in looking at what’s in front of me now and not too far in the future or the past. Of course, you think back and remember the good times, but based on my work and life now, I’m content with 64.
Thanks to Joseph Abboud for taking the time to sit down with us for this interview. Congratulations on your success in 2019 and we wish you the best for 2020 and beyond!
– Black & White Cabs