"Bamba" Dione drives for Chicago Carriage Cab Company. On Tuesday Dione was named Cabbie of the Year.
Piano C. Redd was singing the blues on Tuesday at the Chicago Carriage Cab Company on a happy occasion: the introduction of 10 new hybrid cabs and Cheikh "Bamba" Dione being named cabbie of the year.
The Senegal native says it is just a matter of respect.
"Every day when I hit the road I do the best I can, you know. The best service I can do for my customers," said Dione.
Bamba got his cake and ate it too. He received a $500 check for his good deeds and gratitude from his boss who gets many complimentary letters about the cabbie.
"Usually about how courteous he is. About how extra clean the vehicle is and the main thing is the people love the newspapers in the morning they get for free," said Simon V. Garber, President, Chicago Carriage Cab Co.
Dione gives his customers free newspapers every morning, smiles, umbrellas and free iced bottled water on hot summer days.
"In wintertime I have my 24 pack of water in the back of the car," said Dione.
When asked if he gets compensation in tips, the cab driver said, "oh yeah, I do more than that."
Customers in need of a ride can keep their eye out for cab #5147, Dione's cab. Riders will receive his special service.
Dione says he knows there are a lot of grouchy cab drivers out there and has some advice for them.
"My advice is they have to change their attitude ... because without the customers we don't make a living," said Dione.
Cabbies have to buy their own gasoline. With a hybrid, Dione should save about $7,000 this year on gas, yet another win for the taxi driver.