One Chicago taxi driver is attracting a lot of attention these days.
Tarig Kamill, 52, says over the years he has seen countless cab drivers pass disabled individuals on the road because they don’t want to take the time to help those in wheelchairs enter the vehicle.
And it bothers him.
“I see these drivers, and I think they are lazy,” Kamill told the Chicago Tribune. “They can make more money picking up passengers along the street, so they don’t want to bother. They don’t see that they have a responsibility to help other people.”
The 11-year taxi cab veteran thinks there is a moral obligation.
In 2013, he provided 1,821 rides to passengers in wheelchairs, the Tribune reported, citing government records.
Now, his good character has earned him 60 nominations for Chicago’s annual Taxicab Driver Excellence Award.
“His cab is always clean, both inside and out,” customer William Hayes wrote in his nominating form, according to the Tribune. “And he will try to help you in any way he can. He guides his clients on and off the vehicle with the utmost consideration for the client’s well-being and safety. He will assist you up to your front door and inside the building.”
“Tarig remembers me and greets me personally by name,” passenger Max Arkley reportedly echoed in his nominating form. “He secures and checks all four of the ties that attach to my wheelchair. He always reminds people traveling with me to watch their head when entering and exiting his cab.”
The award, aimed at honoring drivers who treat customers with disabilities in an exemplarily fashion, comes with a free taxi medallion worth about $350,000 as a prize. If he wins, Kamill could then purchase his own cab, meaning he’d no longer need to rent one from a dispatch company.
“I won’t see the savings this year because I have to purchase my own taxi,” he told the Tribune. “But once it’s paid for, it’s going to make a big, big difference for my family. I cannot even begin to explain the difference.”
The 52-year-old, a Sudanese computer engineer who moved to Chicago in 2002, says he is honored to read such compliments being written about him.
“It makes me proud to read all these things,” he said. “I want to do more. I want to provide more rides and help more people. That’s what this award has done for me.”
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