By Matt Wilson, @WilsonSTComms

From pancakes to elephants, it seems there’s a special day for just about everything (quite literally) big and small in the social media age. And while some people may have gone months without a pancake, or decades without seeing majestic elephant up close, chances are many Peninsula residents are routinely ferried to work by someone with a familiar face. These are the transit drivers who get us where we need to go every day.

That’s why Transit Driver Appreciation Day was created. It’s officially March 18, but will be observed this Friday while we’re all still hustling to and from our jobs. Riders are invited to say “thank you” to the men and women who operate buses, trains, light rails and shuttles.

TransitDriverAppreciationDay-logoAs officials overseeing the appreciation day tell it, “for hours on end, your driver manages to keep a schedule, check fares, give directions, announce stops, remember requests and more. All while safely maneuvering an extra-large vehicle through unpredictable traffic, tough weather conditions and some really tight spaces. Needless to say, they deserve our thanks!”

That’s a terrific synopsis and a reminder that these operators are master multitaskers. Bus driving alone requires so much skill and precision that we here at SamTrans have an annual competition where drivers can show off their stuff and win prizes. While you’re on your way to work looking out the window or surfing Facebook, your driver is doing some tricky things at the wheel that the rest of us would surely foul up

So on Friday or any day after, please stop and give thanks to the folks behind the wheel or the crew keeping the train moving. Not only is it good to share the love and reap some good karma, but think of it this way; these folks are like your personal chauffeurs. They’re a part of your life the same way your regular barista is or the mail carrier in the neighborhood.

Appreciation day officials say giving thanks can be as simple as a smile and a wave as you’re boarding and a “thank you” when you leave. Cards are recommended too, as are taking a photo with your driver (after asking for permission of course and when it’s safe) and posting it to social media with #TDAD. If you think your operator is doing an even better job, you can call or write in to SamTrans or Caltrain and pass the kudos onto their bosses who will surely take notice.

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