A Top Tip



Alexand, a Sydney taxi driver, had never received a $10 tip before. And I’d never given one of that size.

But that’s exactly what happened on a trip I took to the airport recently.

I’d had three hours sleep and was facing a flight and running two events that same day. Typically I don’t describe myself as a morning person.  Alex laughed, telling me he is up at 1.30am every day to drive his taxi.

Alex then went on to provide sensational customer service. He offered me the option to sleep during the trip or for him to stop and buy me a coffee or energy drink.

I declined both and listened as he told me why he is so passionate about his life and the opportunities he has created for himself. Through driving a taxi while most of us sleep, he’s already funded a secure home for his three children in Sydney that he has renovated himself.

Calculating a year out from our journey, he says he will have earned enough money to fulfil his dream of running his own restaurant in Thailand. His number one passion (outside of his children) is food and the joy he gets from cooking.

To speed up his time frame, he’s reinventing his taxi to become a ‘personal transportation service’ with bold, creative business cards and offering a premium service. I, for one, will be booking his services whenever I am in Sydney.

At the end of that journey, we’d both made a decision about the fare. He’d decided to waive my booking fee, and I’d decided to contribute to his dream.

Alex didn’t just drive me to the airport, he took me on a journey.

Persistence and determination gets you everywhere and Alex’s passion was the inspiration I needed to start my day. It’s the best $10 I have invested in a long time.

Do you tip when someone goes above and beyond with their customer service?  Does your business look at ways at exceeding customer service expectations in order to differentiate their business?


| Social Entrepreneur – www.madwoman.com.au

  • WOW – thanks for the inspiration Melina. Seems like there’s a link here: passion -> great customer service -> great feedback from customers -> more passion for the work.
    This guy has got it figured out!

  • Wow, Melina! With the atrocious service one gets in many taxis today, Alex is going to CLEAN UP! All power to him. And many thanks for your inspiring story. :)

  • Thanks Paul. It’s such a shame that great service has to be an exception, rather than rule, for taxis! :)

  • Anna

    I have two – one was recently I was running late to a performance at the Arts centre and the tram had stopped at Latrobe St – so I jumped in a cab – totally forgetting I had no cash in my purse, tried to pay by card but it didn’t work – he knew I was late and just let the fare go. Next cab driver I had gave a good tip.

    Other was in LA I was totally lost in my 3rd day in LA on my first O/S trip after going to Disneyland…. walking, the only person in LA walking… to find where I needed to be I was totally lost…. found a home depot and called a cab – had the loveliest lady I was in tears in the cab, she told me how great it was I was travelling alone and she got me to my friend house… I was so relieved after being so scared!

  • Debra Duncan

    My 24 year old son is totally blind, and uses taxis frequently. Last week I actually contacted the Victorian Taxi Directorate to report superb service ( I believe in positive re-inforcement). The person travelling with my son in the taxi left some musical instruments in the boot. The driver was very diligent in making sure he delivered the instruments right up inside the front door, allowing my son to call his friend to question what to do with the instruments, and all around being very helpful.

    I have found my son’s taxi service to be generally excellent, with a few exception.s

  • Hi Melina

    I think this is a wonderful story. I too have had an amazing experience with an incredibly honest taxi driver. He had accidentally overcharged me by $10 on a trip to the airport and returned to my house with $10 in hand. What the?! I’m now determined to give him every taxi trip I can because I was so touched and inspired by his honesty. Yay!

  • I love great service and a highlight in your day like this one leaves a lasting impression!

  • Melina

    That’s such a great story! There seems to be a $10 theme!