SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) --A Bay Area man just learned he's winning an international award for his work as a taxi driver.
Enders Abdu left Ethiopia to find the "American Dream."
"I came to this country in 1998 and after two years I started driving a taxi," he said.
His day starts out like any other driver, getting his cab ready for the road. But that's about where the similarities end.
While many drivers wait for a call from dispatch, Abdu already knows his schedule. "At 6:55 I'm going to pick up my first kid and I have three kids," he said.
And they're the same kids every day. They are kids with special needs who go to school far from home. "The kids have to feel comfortable, so you have to have the type of driver that makes that child feel comfortable," Yellow Checker Cab operations Dave Logan said.
San Jose's Yellow Checker Cab Company recommended Abdu to the schools where they have a contract to transport kids.
He's now been doing it for 15 years. "He would be the guy that I'd want taking my kids, and I'm sure you would too. That's what makes him so special and deserving of this wonderful award that he got," Logan said.
Abdu was named taxi cab driver of the year by a vote of more than 1,000 taxi, limo and paratransit companies. "It's a big thing. Especially when they are in this business and they recognize that, that's a lot to me," Abdu said.
So what do you do on the day that you find out you've just won an international award for excellence from the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association? Well, Abdu did what he always does, he went and picked up the kids from school.
Some kids, he's been driving for years, but his newest rider is 9-year-old Cameron who just transferred to a school in Palo Alto, which is half an hour from home.
Cameron's mom heard about the award and said they got it right. "He's a really great guy, very polite, always very punctual, I feel very safe sending Cameron off with him," Jaime Lowe said.
Enders heads down to Phoenix in a week to accept the award in front of over 1,000 people.
When asked how's the "American Dream" is working out for him, Abdu said "perfect."