A Nairobi single-mum was on Thursday crowned as the best taxi driver in Dubai by the United Arab Emirates government.
Ms Peris Wangechi, who has been a taxi driver for six years with Dubai Taxi Corporation, became the first Kenyan to win the award by the Dubai police for her exceptional services and conduct.
The Dubai police department rewards taxi drivers annually with certificates and monetary gifts on the basis of zero accidents, zero traffic offenses and zero black points on their driving licence.
In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News on Friday, Ms Wangechi told of her joy at the recognition in a city that has one of the world’s most stringent traffic regulations.
“It was overwhelming since it was a surprise and I least expected it especially from the senior police sergeants,” she said.
The 35-year-old single mother from Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County, told Nairobi News that her family lives in Kahawa West.
She moved to Dubai 10 years ago leaving behind her then three-year-old son under the care of her mother in Nairobi.
“I have been in Dubai exactly 10 years now. I worked in a security company for four years. After I got the driving licence, I joined Dubai taxi and this is my sixth year,” Ms Wangechi told Nairobi News.
Her now teenage son visits her during the April and August school holidays and she also travels home in December.
“I’m entitled to 60 days annual leave so that we see each other often. During his school holidays, he visits and I am in Nairobi every December,” said the proud mother.
Ms Wangechi has in the past received internal recognition and salary increments from her employer Dubai Taxi Corporation for being an excellent driver.
The staunch Christian had to learn how to wear a hijab during working hours.
The hijab is part of the company’s official uniform.