Is Jack Hemara the most helpful person in Tūrangi?
Z Tūrangi customers certainly seem to think so. They have voted Jack, a forecourt concierge at the busy service station on State Highway 1, Z's Supreme National Forecourt Concierge Hero.
Jack has been with Z Tūrangi since September 2017, moving across from Burger King Tūrangi where he kept the place looking good. He was awarded Worker of the Year there as well.
Raised in Kihikihi, Jack has roots in Tūrangi and whakapapas to Ngāti Tūwharetoa through his father. While his work background was in farming and then maintenance, he's taken to the customer service role.
"My job is to serve the customers, make sure they get everything they need and try to help them in a way that they are happy," Jack says. "The majority of the people that come here are foreigners going to the national park and it brings a lot of challenges because often they don't speak English."
He always makes an effort to ask people where they are from and greet them in their own language.
His other customer-pleasing tactic is just to be himself — smiley, helpful and genuinely friendly.
"If you treat your customers nice and polite and like they how to be treated, they will do the same back to you.
"I know some of the customers by name and I know what they like, so I go ahead and do it."
Jack's helpfulness extends to giving people directions, sending them to other local businesses if they can't get what they need at Z, and even changing a woman's car tyre. He just likes to help.
When customers thank him, Jack gives them a little survey feedback form which they can submit to Z, and it's that customer feedback of between 40 and 80 sent in each month that secured Jack his award.
His certificate says if Z could clone Jack, they would, praising him for delivering all the company's customer service pillars every time he steps out onto the forecourt and saying his customer feedback surveys make great reading.
"Jack's attention to the health and safety of his customers and team is to be admired."
Travelling can often be stressful and Jack sees his share of those not having a good day.
"Frustrated people, confused people, we see them all and once they've talked to me they have come out of their frustration and it's 'thank you very much sir, you need a pay rise' — I get a lot of that."
For the awards Jack travelled to Auckland with Z retailer Glen Carlson and other Z staff. He was first presented with North Island Forecourt Concierge Hero, and just as he was thinking he could sit down, they called his name again.
"Glen looked at me and said 'that's you mate'. I was nervous, shaking, I had to stop and get my calmness back.
"I walked onto the stage and all I said was 'I'd like to welcome everyone here and I'd like to thank my wife and kids and I'd like to thank Glen and [training manager] Pauline Ross for showing me and helping me and everyone else. Thank you very much'. And the big chief executive [Mike Bennetts of Z] came up to me and said 'that was an awesome speech'."
Jack is rightly proud of his title as Supreme National Forecourt Concierge Hero, has laminated the certificate and wears his medal to work each day. Customers who spot it often shake his hand and congratulate him.
Jack says for him, looking after people isn't work.
"I love helping people. I love their smiles and their appreciation after they leave and I know that they are satisfied."