His cheerful greeting of ‘welcome aboard’ has netted tram conductor Michael Clark a ‘fare’ number of fans – and now a hat-trick of awards too.
The grandad, of Parson Cross, has been named Stagecoach Supertram’s customer services star for the third year in a row.
Passengers praised him for his polite, friendly manner and going the extra mile – which included helping a woman who had missed her train find a bus service and lifting a man in a wheelchair on to another tram in between sorting tickets.
Modest Michael, aged 42, said: “I don’t believe I deserve it really, I only do what everybody would do and treat people with respect.
“My catchphrase is welcome aboard and I tell people to have a nice day if they are getting off.
“I always call ladies ‘ladies’ and gentlemen ‘sir’ – I don’t believe in class because everybody is equal.
“Quite a lot of people do recognise me now. I was in the chip shop the other day and the man said ‘I know you, welcome aboard!’.”
Customers on the blue service to Malin Bridge sang Michael’s praises as he joked with customers while collecting fares this week.
Margaret Ball, 74, of Owlthorpe, said: “He always says ‘hello young lady’ which you appreciate when you are a senior citizen.
“I should imagine his awards are very well deserved because you always feel better when he is around.”
Dad-of-two Michael, who has worked as a tram conductor for four years, said he enjoyed the job because of the people he meets – but he admitted early shifts could be a challenge.
The first trams leave the Supertram depot at 5.15am, which means he must sometimes get up at 3.30am.
The Sheffield Wednesday fan, who was given match tickets as his prize, has also dressed up as a Christmas elf and Supertram mascot to help out at events.
Michael said seeing customers smile was his greatest motivation, thanked his regular driver and vowed to keep on improving to meet his personal customer service target.
He added: “You meet so many people – if this job was just going from one place to another you wouldn’t get that excited.
“But everybody getting on has different stories and problems – people tell you all kinds of things and I do my best to help.
“I’m glad people nominated me and it makes me feel proud – but I’m a shy person who doesn’t take compliments very well!”
Supertram launched the competition during national customer service week and voting ran until the end of October, with several staff nominated.
Claire Ansley, head of customer service, said: “I am delighted Michael has once again been recognised by our passengers as delivering exceptional customer service.
“He often goes above and beyond the call of duty, realising the importance of going the extra mile to put a smile on customers’ faces.
“Congratulations Michael and keep up the hard work – it is appreciated.”
* Star Opinion: We need more like Michael