31 March, 2017. 9:23

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

If there’s one thing Mark McLaughlin enjoys less than somebody vomiting in the back seat of his taxi cab, it’s cyclists.

The 77-year-old was the first taxi license recipient in the greater Betoota district in 1965, where he was able to grow his business from just one car to ten in a matter of months.

He’s seen it all.

Retiring in 2011, McLaughlin cites the changing culture in town that’s drifting away from drinking a few beers after work to something much more sinister.

“The young men and women in town are spending much less time at the pub I’ve noticed,” he said.

“It’s my understanding that they do other things such as smoke rock or ride bicycles in order to keep fit between cricket and football season. Regardless, the cyclists have been a scourge on Betoota for countless years. It’s always been my dream to bounce one off the Ford badge and watch him disappear under the bumper.”

Next week, the former Betoota Sailing Club Commodore will get his wish.

After being diagnosed with an undisclosed terminal illness, Mark has been granted his final wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who plan to source a pack of cyclists from the local prison.

“We will put crims on pushbikes and send them off down the road in a big pack,” said Make-A-Wish spokesman, Geoff Morrison.

“Then we’ll put Mark on the beaded seat of his old cab and let him hoon off after them. He’s a local treasure and deserves this.”

More to come.


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