FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Fayetteville is making a special effort to commemorate its bus drivers ahead of the newly proclaimed Transit Driver Appreciation Day happening Saturday. As part of the festivities, the city is celebrating its longest-serving driver on the force.
"I enjoy the public so much. They really make my day and it makes the time go by faster. Just meeting new people. And you meet people from all walks of life," said Sherry Christian.
Christian has been a FAST driver for 25 years. The Fayetteville native said driving buses like this one allows her to give back to her community. The best part she says is that as she's evolved, she says she's watched children riding her bus evolve, too.
"Over the years, those children grew up. And so they would get on my bus and say, 'Hi, Miss Sherry, do you remember me?' And I would say, 'No, I don't think so'. But then they would bring to mind, 'we used to ride your bus with my mom,' and I was like, Well, look at you, you're all grown up with children of your own now," she said.
Transit Driver Appreciation Day has been commemorated across the country as far back as 2009. However, this week, the city of Fayetteville issued a proclamation for the day to take place March 18. Officials said they want bus drivers to know how important they are to Fayetteville, serving almost 1.6 million riders a year according to the city.
"It takes a unique person to be a FAST Driver. They need to be compassionate, they need to be able to listen and provide that support to residents when needed," said Loren Bymer, the marketing and communications director of the city of Fayetteville.
Christian said that after having put decades into working for the city's transit system she appreciates the city for showing its appreciation of her -- and the other nearly 70 drivers in transit.
"I am very much so honored. It means a lot to my colleagues to have this recognition for all the hard work that we do each and every day," Christian said. "We put in long hours. We work holidays. So, it really means a lot to me."