For more than 10 years, welcoming visitors from around the world has been a big part of Calgary cab driver Jatinder Tatla’s life. And he continues to do so in the comfort of his yellow taxicab.
The 41-year-old veteran cabbie was recently awarded the International Driver of the Year by the International Association of Transportation Regulators.
“It’s a big honor,” Tatla said. “When they announced my name, my daughter had tears in her eyes. I said, ‘Why are you crying?’ She said, ‘I’m not crying — I’m so happy I can’t control myself.'”
Indeed, his positive attitude and professionalism have attracted many prominent award-winning visitors and regular customers. In fact, he was even crowned as Calgary’s best driver at the annual White Hat Awards four months ago. The award, according to reports, are handed out to recognize exceptional service in the city’s tourism industry.
“I just try to explain to customers about Calgary, that Calgary is really beautiful — we have so many things,” said Tatla. “I try my best to bring more people to Calgary.”
“Jass will make you feel like family. The kind of advice he gives me is probably the same kind of advice I would get from my dad or from my brother,” passenger Akshay Mittal said. “It’s always a fun ride with Jass.”
Checker Transportation president Kurt Enders is proud to have Tatla part of the company.
“Jass doesn’t care who you are or how far your trip is,” Mr. Enders said. “He always does an amazing job to make you feel welcome in his cab.”
When asked what makes his services special, Tatla says that he believes every customer deserves to leave with a smile.
“I always provide my service in a positive way,” said Tatla. “I always love to meet new people, I always learn something from all the different clients. They have their own experience from their age, (and) their different jobs.”
Moreover, Tatla claims that although their work as a cab driver have gotten harder ever since ride-sharing services such as Uber rolled out in the city, his loyal customer base helped him get back up.
“My customers, they carry me,” said Tatla. “They know that they want to keep Jass busy. Even after Uber, I am more busier than before.”
Aside from his customers, Tatla claims that what keeps him motivated to work is his family.
“I’m working hard to provide my kids a good education,” Tatla said. “([So that] they will be working in the big buildings downtown because Canada is a great country. Whatever you want to achieve, you can.”
His employers are very proud of his awards, as he serves as an example for other drivers.
“I love what I’m doing,” said Tatla. “Whoever sits in my car, my first goal is to provide them good service.”