HE made headlines in March during the opening of a US multi-million dollar company in Providence, and received accolades from former President, Donald Ramotar, who described him as the quintessential ambassador.
Despite this, Wazeed Manjoor remains a humble taxi driver based at the country’s main port of entry – the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
What’s interesting to note is that Manjoor’s professionalism and accommodating attitude enabled a significant investment in Guyana. His assistance to Alejandra Romero, a Qualfon Executive, in 2004 paved the way for a US$4M Call Centre Campus constructed in Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD) which was opened on March 27, 2015. The company will employ over 3,000 Guyanese.
“To be honest I was surprised at the recognition I received. I saw a young woman who could not access any cash because we had no ATM then. I offered to take her to her destination knowing that there was a possibility I may not have been paid. My thought was this could have been a relative of mine in another country,” Mr. Manjoor told CJIA’s Public Relations Officer. “What I did for her, is something I would do for anyone.”
However, his deed was highly appreciated. Apart from an established friendship, the 59-year-old taxi driver, fondly called ‘Waja’, has secured an exclusive contract with the company.
Being a familiar face at CJIA since 1980, Manjoor’s first few years were challenging since “he was a new kid on the block.” But over time, his reputation has preceded him with a number of international companies seeking his services.
“The secret to getting clients is quite simple – a smile. That has been my motto from the inception. Passengers may disembark an aircraft irritable. A friendly face and a good conversation can change all that,” the veteran driver explained.
A comfortable journey to his client’s destination is also top on Mr Manjoor’s list. He currently uses a 19-seater Pitbull bus equipped with maps, an assortment of tablets, bottled water and locally manufactured candies. “I ensure I replenish when the stocks go down,” he continued with a laugh. “But seriously, I take pride in what I do. It’s a service we pledged the management of the CJIA to provide at the highest level. It is a pledge I will always upkeep.”
Manjoor felt a sense of pride when the President called him a true ambassador. He believes that all Guyanese must play a part in the tourism/hospitality sector.
“It is a known fact that Guyanese are hospitable. We just have to keep up that momentum,” he declared.
The father of two has no immediate plans to retire, since he is blessed with good health.
“I don’t drink or smoke. I can safely say I am a very disciplined individual who takes his job seriously,” Manjoor said.
As he continues to ply his trade every day, Manjoor is pleased with the progress made at CJIA, and is supportive of the CJIA expansion project.
“The number of passengers that pass through the airport has increased and I personally think that a new airport will position Guyana in a positive light,” he added.
For his fellow colleagues, Manjoor is of the view that being polite, considerate, mannerly, and being a good listener are the key ingredients of being a successful CJIA taxi driver.