He protects customers on the Lakeshore East line by day and Toronto Raptors players by night. This Customer Service Ambassador might just be the best guard around.
“Please stand clear of the doors. Doors are now closing.”
It’s one of the familiar voices you hear every morning on Lakeshore East trains. On one train in particular, the man behind the voice is Zohaib “Zo” Khan.
By day, he watches out for GO Transit customers as a Customer Service Ambassador. By night, he’s a personal security guard for the Toronto Raptors, making sure the players get on and off the court safely.
“They’re both really challenging jobs,” said Khan. “You have to be on point for both passengers and players. I don’t think there’s any difference.”
“I’m always vigilant and alert. Anything can happen, whether it’s on a train or on the court.”
Khan has been balancing both jobs for quite some time. He’s been with the Raptors for almost 13 years and GO transit for about seven years.
Born in Kuwait, Khan moved to Canada when he was 10. He says that’s when he was first introduced to basketball, immediately falling in love with the sport. Even as a player in high school, he always knew basketball would be a part of his life.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be a ball player because of my height,” Khan said. “My speed wasn’t there but I told myself I’m going to be in it, somewhere, somehow. It could even be as a coach, but I ended up as a security guy.”
On every game day his alarm goes off at 4:15 a.m. By 5 a.m., he’s out the door heading to work for his shift with GO Transit. He wraps up in the afternoon and takes a quick break before heading over to the Scotiabank Arena for his second job. Khan admits, it’s a long day.
What keeps Khan going are the kudos he gets from his regular GO Transit customers, whom he sometimes bumps into at the games.
Khan says he became a Customer Service Ambassador because ever since he was young, he’s always loved helping people.
“Whether I’m helping you get to school, to a doctor’s appointment or a Raptors game, I feel amazing,” Khan said. “I feel good about myself that I’m helping somebody.”
“Even if it’s to get on the coach and put the ramp down for wheelchair access, it’s all very important to me. I protect players, I protect fans and safety is my number one thing.”
At the Scotiabank Arena, Khan takes the same approach to the safety of the players. Over the years, he says he’s met quite a few players, both from the home and visiting teams. Protecting basketball legends like Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and Michael Jordan top his list of favourite meetings.
“I really get to know the players,” Khan said, “It’s really cool to meet different people, different personalities from different teams.” Despite the long hours, Khan says he wouldn’t trade both jobs for anything, except of course, playing on the court.
“I do realize I’m standing on the court and 20,000 people are watching, but they’re watching the players,” Khan said. “I just want to play once and have my last name on the jersey. I just want to experience one game.”
As for his jobs, Khan doesn’t like to pick a favourite.
“Both jobs, to be honest, are amazing,” he said. “I’m so blessed. I can’t pick a favourite. I wouldn’t, I couldn’t.”
This spring, Khan says he’s looking forward to getting fans to the games and Jurassic Park safely on his train and protecting the Raptors now that the playoffs are underway. He’s hoping that includes protecting the players all the way to the Finals.
There are many GO Train and bus options to get you to the game, for schedules and trip information head to the GO Transit website.
Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx bilingual spokesperson, media relations and issues specialist