BRISBANE taxi driver Aguek Nyok is uncomfortable with being publicly feted as a “hero”, and prefers his family and church side of life – like witnessing his children being baptised.
The Catholic father-of-four who rescued passengers during a fatal attack on a bus driver in October has been handed an award for his bravery.
The cabbie kicked in the rear door of the bus to help passengers escape the blaze that claimed the life of a 29-year-old bus driver Manmeet Alisher.
With wife Monica by his side, Mr Nyok, 31, a former refugee from South Sudan, was awarded the Taxi Hero Award by the Taxi Council Queensland for his response to the attack.
As part of the award, Mr Nyok received a trip to the Gold Coast, including use of a BMW for a weekend away.
But rather than head straight down the M1 for a well-earned break, Mr Nyok put his holiday on hold and went to church for the baptism of his two youngest children – a two-and-a-half-year-old and a nine-month-old.
The baptisms took place at St Pius X Church, Salisbury, on Brisbane’s southside.
“It’s something really good to see your kids going to the house of God and willing to be a part of that house,” Mr Nyok said.
“It makes me feel really good and makes me feel as a parent you are doing part of your job.”
Mr Nyok is still coming to grips with the fatal attack at Moorooka, and it has been family, prayer and workmates that have helped him get through.
His bravery is being recognised because he didn’t stop to think of his own safety before rushing to save 11 people trapped inside the burning vehicle.
Since the tragedy he has tried to stick to his normal routine.
Mr Nyok went back to work driving his taxi the day after the attack.
“It’s not like something easy that you can forget after one night,” he said.
“I’m fighting it and I don’t want it to take any place inside me.
“I am always praying to God to let me pass through this and live a normal life.
“My family is always praying for me and at the church they always mention this, and I can always see the community on my side helping me and wishing me the best so it’s really good.”
Family and friends are also praying for Mr Nyok’s wife Monica who was about to enter hospital for a throat operation.
Mr Nyok has had to cope with his new-found “hero” celebrity status on the streets of Brisbane.
People come up to him to shake his hand and request “selfies” with him.
He said he did not think of himself as a hero and was surprised when given the award by Taxi Council Queensland at a ceremony on November 25.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also written to the Australian Bravery Decorations Council to nominate Mr Nyok for a medal.