He’s rub­bish pickin’ good

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

Each morn­ing Neil Onion makes a trip down to Mata­mata KFC – but not for a piece of chicken.

Mr Onion has been pick­ing up rub­bish and sweep­ing the car park each day from 9am to 11am for 14 years with­out fail, no mat­ter what the weather.

The 50-year-old gets im­mense joy from many things in life in­clud­ing help­ing oth­ers, do­ing his job to the best of his abil­ity and meet­ing new peo­ple.

He is a part of the Mata­mata IDEA Ser­vice, Achievaz, which is an IHC ser­vice in the com­mu­nity.

Mr Onion said he is ex­cited when he ar­rives on Mon­day morn­ing and there is lots of rub­bish, be­cause then he can do his job well.

In the af­ter­noons, if he has spare time, he heads back to KFC to help open and stack their hot chip pack­ets.

‘‘I even got an award [long ser­vice award] for be­ing there af­ter 10 years,’’ he said.

Al­though he ad­mits he doesn’t eat all the food at KFC – he does like hav­ing one of their drinks af­ter a morn­ing at work.

Mata­mata KFC man­ager Anna Paul couldn’t speak more highly of Mr Onion.

‘‘Neil is such a great as­set here. Ev­ery time he comes through the door, he has a big smile on his face and lots of hugs for ev­ery­one. He bright­ens ev­ery­one’s day.

‘‘Him be­ing here for 14 years and be­ing so con­sis­tent at what he does, is in­cred­i­ble. I could not see us ever re­plac­ing him with any­one else, he is just so great.’’

Achievaz staff Beryl McGurk, Pauline Ikin and Shirly Hennessy also agree Mr Onion is such a plea­sure to have around.

‘‘ He bright­ens my day with one of his smiles – he just loves get­ting out in the com­mu­nity,’’ Ms Hennessy said.

Apart from his work at KFC, Mr Onion loves com­plet­ing jig­saw puzzles, go­ing fish­ing and watch­ing the Chiefs play.

He also plays bowls on Thurs­day nights, goes to a mu­sic class with one of his friends, plays gui­tar and at­tends the Mata­mata Com­puter and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre.

He re­cently went on a cruise around the Pa­cific is­lands with money he had saved up from work­ing at KFC and var­i­ous other things.

‘‘I like to keep busy,’’ he said and has no plans to re­tire any­time soon.

Ded­i­cated: Neil Onion still loves work­ing at KFC af­ter 14 years on the job.

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