Corowa taxi driver John Doody has had his share of fascinating conversations with customers over the years but his favourite passenger for more than a decade has been a young man who speaks no words but has a big heart.
Luckily Jacob Brockley also has a soft spot for John, with the couple travelling 120 kilometres return each school day so Jacob could attend James Fallon High School in Albury over the past six years.
But their friendship goes even further back.
It started when John began driving Jacob during his primary school days at Corowa Public School.
Jacob, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is unable to communicate with words, graduated from high school last month, ending their special trips together.
“I already miss it and it’s only been several weeks,” John said.
It was clear to see the pair have a close bond when the Free Press caught up with John, Jacob and Jacob’s mum Ashleen.
“His face lights up when he sees John,” Ashleen said.
Although Jacob can’t communicate with speech, his facial expressions speak volumes.
“He just gives you a look and you know what he wants or what he is trying to say,” Ashleen said.
“People who are close to him and spend lots of time with him pick up on it, like John and Jacob’s teachers and carers at school.”
Ashleen said she couldn’t thank Jacob’s carers, educators and John enough.
She said a thank you must also go to Bruce Hall and Andrew Milner who were also taxi drivers for Jacob during his years attending high school.
Jacob is well known around town for his love of sport, his beloved AFL team, Richmond, won this year’s premiership making Jacob a very happy supporter.
He was lucky enough to meet Matthew Richardson from Richmond down at John Foord oval earlier this year who signed Jacob’s jumper, making Jacob one very happy young man.
AFL teams are perhaps the one thing that Jacob and John don’t see eye to eye on.
With John being an Essendon supporter it has made for some interesting bets over the years - whenever their teams are playing each other there’s always soft drink at stake.
“It’s gone from me buying cans of Fanta over the years to large bottles of Coke and a Mars Bar,” John said.
While their adventures in the taxi may be over now, John visits Jacob regularly and they catch up at social occasions like Jacob’s recent 18th and John’s 70th birthday last year.
More than 120 people helped Jacob celebrate his 18th birthday in September at the Corowa RSL Club, with family travelling from as far afield as Townsville and Melbourne.
Among those in attendance were some of his carers and special education teachers over the years including Janene Webster, Chrissie Smith, Vicki McDougall and Kim Coburn.
“I want to thank everyone who came along on the special night and also those who have helped us out over the years. We have some special people in our life.”
Making his birthday even more special was when the Corowa Cougars presented Jacob with his own personalised rugby jumper that features his surname on it.
Jacob, who has two older brothers Justin, 27, and Chris, 24, lives at home at the moment with his mum and father, Steven.
He is looking forward to working at Kalianna Enterprises in the New Year and his long-term goal is to move to Albury where he will have a full-time carer live with him.