Transit Driver Appreciation Day was designed to put the focus on operators like Shelly Logelin, who started working at Metro Transit in 2013.
But when students from Saint Paul Public School’s Focus Beyond Transition Services visited Metro Transit’s East Metro Garage on Monday the support went in both directions.
The students, frequent bus riders, visited the garage to hand deliver gift bags filled with snacks and decorated with one of the custom thank you cards they helped design.
But, like several operators in attendance, Logelin said picking up Focus Beyond students is just as much of a highlight for her as it is for the students.
“Even though it’s our appreciation day, we’re giving it back to them to make sure they know they’re appreciated, too,” she said.
Focus Beyond is a transitional school where students learn how to become more independent. Students often ride in large groups, filling entire buses on routes 54, 70 and 74, as they ride to and from school, work and other destinations.
The students were invited to East Metro after taking the initiative to deliver handmade cards and gift bags to drivers on Transit Driver Appreciation Day in 2018.
Tina Potvin, a teacher who helped organize the efforts, said students ride so frequently that they often develop relationships with the drivers. The kindness, patience and smiles they offer make sure the students always feel welcome, she said.
“Many of the drivers greet our students by name and learn about all the individual needs they may have,” Potvin said. ”They really go out of their way to make both the students and the staff feel so much more comfortable and welcome.”
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