Oamaru truck driver Jason Coleman had no idea he had been nominated for Woolworth’s New Zealand’s driver of the year award.
Winning it was even more unexpected.
Mr Coleman has been working for Hall’s Group South Island for five years, driving from Oamaru to Queenstown’s Countdown supermarket six days a week.
He was presented with the award last week by Woolworth’s national transport manager Graeme Doull.
“I had no idea I’d been nominated at first,” he said.
“Then to go on to win the award, I just wasn’t expecting it at all. It was so awesome they put me through for it.”
He was nominated by Fresh Choice and Countdown in Queenstown for his communication, attitude and willingness to help.
“He is, and has been for a long time, the one driver the team look forward to seeing each morning,” the nomination reads.
“If he gets stuck in snow, he’ll text our produce manager and storeman that he is running late and always keeps the team in the loop.”
For Mr Coleman, keeping people happy was what the job was all about.
“If you’re not in good with the customer it makes it hard work, so that’s my thing – keeping the customer happy.”
Most days, he started driving at about 2am to ensure supplies reached the Queenstown supermarket in good time.
He enjoyed driving through the Otago countryside, especially in the mornings when there was very little traffic on the roads.
Hall’s Group managing director Michele Kernahan said it was great to see Mr Coleman recognised for his attitude and approach to truck driving.
Drivers were in demand across New Zealand, and there was increased pressure on the supply chain as a result of Covid-19 and changing demands.