LIVING at the other side of Sheffield, Val Taylor needs an early start for her job at a petrol service station in Crosspool.
“I get up at 4am and I’m here for between 5.30am and 5.45am, and I’m here until 2.30pm five days a week Monday to Friday,” she says.
At the age of 72, it is not only her commitment to working at Jet’s Crosspool Service Station that has won her the company’s inaugural title of Sales Assistant of the Year.
Her customer service and pride in her appearance and the premises at the corner of Selbourne Road won over the judges of 380 independently-operated sites.
It all resulted in a trip yesterday (Wednesday) for an awards ceremony at a top hotel in Stratford-on-Avon for Val and Crosspool manager Stella Lucas.
It was “very rewarding to be recognised after working in the forecourt industry for nearly 20 years,” said Val, who lives with husband Tom in Yew Lane.
“The customer always comes first in my job and being friendly and polite costs nothing!”
Val first worked for BP in Langsett Road and then in Savile Street, near the Wicker, until the floods of the summer of 2006 caused irreparable damage.
After 18 months on reception at a neighbouring Vauxhall dealership, she moved to the Jet station in Manchester Road where she has been for two years.
“I love the job,” she said. “It’s social. There are some nice people here, and there’s a good rapport between the customers and the staff. Everything is fine.”
Nominees for the award came from dealers and regional managers, and the final decision was made by a panel of ConocoPhillips judges based on employees who go the extra mile to help customers.
Stella Lucas said: “Val is an absolute pleasure to work with, She has the patience of a saint and nothing is too much trouble when it comes to helping our customers.
“She contacts the local garage if customers have car problems and offers helpful directions if anyone is lost.
“Val takes the greatest pride in her work by arriving early and keeping the forecourt clean, plus she is always dressed immaculately.”
Jet regional sales manager Guy Pulham said she goes “above and beyond the call of duty: at 72 years young, Val sets a great example by doing such a great job and we’re extremely pleased to have her in the network.”
With two daughters, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren, she could be excused taking things a little easier.
But Val is having none of it: “I haven’t got time to retire!”