In 1991, when Taj Kahn traveled alone to Moorhead, Minn., from New York, a fellow Pakistani student met him at the bus depot to bring him to college.
Thirty years later, he found himself transporting Afghani refugees as a bus operator for Metro Transit. The special trip from the MSP Airport to a hotel was provided earlier this month at the request of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Operator Floyd Seres also assisted.
“I know what it’s like to travel to a place where you don’t know anyone,” Kahn said. “Somebody helped me.”
Growing up in Peshawar, Pakistan, near the border of Afghanistan, he learned a bit of Pashto at a young age from his nanny who watched him while his mother worked as a teacher. That experience helped him translate and welcome the refugees as they entered a new life in the United States.
“They’re still in a bit of shock given all they’ve gone through,” he said. “If I can assist, why not help?”
Kahn didn’t originally plan to be a bus operator. After years of working in restaurant management, an experience helping his daughter with autism board a bus led him to become a school bus driver.
“I wanted to give back and be a driver who helps kids and people with disabilities,” Kahn said.
This experience eventually led him to Metro Transit, where he’s happy to help customers every day. "I get paid to do this,” he said. “Sometimes we forget how lucky we are.”
Operator at a Glance
- Hired: 2021
- Routes: Serves various routes as an extra-board operator
- Garage: South
- Family: One son and two daughters
- Lives: Minneapolis
- Hobbies: Gardening
Fast track your way to a new full-time career. No experience in bus operations is required and training is paid. Bus operators receive outstanding benefits like health care, annual salary increases, a pension plan, and an unlimited-ride bus pass. And, as many Metro Transit managers start their careers as operators, there's also room for growth. Visit metrotransit.org/drive to apply.