He’s rubbish pickin’ good
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.