A Metro Transit tattoo helps Jarrett Ballard not only remember his father but also connect with others.
“I used to ride the bus with him as a kid – those old red buses and green uniforms,” Ballard said. “Just by riding with him and seeing him work, he taught me so much.”
Edward Ballard, Bus Operator number 937, served Metro Transit for 20-years following careers in the military and law enforcement.
“He was very outgoing and a jokester with everyone onboard, especially his regulars,” he said. “And he helped me learn how to speak to anyone.”
He often made customers yell out Jarrett’s nickname and wave at him whenever his bus crossed paths with Jarrett walking the streets of St. Paul.
“Everyone would get a good laugh,” Ballard said. “It was like he knew where I would be!”
Sadly, Edward Ballard succumbed to cancer in 2018. Four years later, Jarrett felt a strong need to find a way to memorialize him.
“I knew I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what to do,” he said.
It was Jarrett’s wife, Talesha, who had an idea, which she kept a surprise. One day, she led him to a tattoo parlor and asked him to trust her. He’s glad he did.
“I didn’t know what it was until they lifted the bandage,” Ballard said. “I was in shock for a second, then I started crying as I was flooded with memories of dad.”
Now, he shares memories with friends, families, and acquaintances in-person and online. “Whenever they see it, they tell me stories about riding onboard dad’s bus,” he said.
While this tattoo helps keep the memory of his dad alive, it also created a new one. “This tattoo also reminds me of the thoughtfulness of my wife,” Ballard said.