6-year-old WES commuter gets a holiday surprise

Jeff Lowe is the director of operations for TriMet’s WES Commuter Rail service.

From conductors to mechanics to office staff, all of us who work at WES Commuter Rail know 6-year-old Joey, our youngest WES commuter.

Joey’s been a regular WES rider since we opened the line in February 2009. He and his dad, Joe, go to work together (where they have an on-site child development center).

This year, Joey started kindergarten, so now he only goes to work with his dad when school isn’t in session.

We missed the little guy, and we knew he was on his holiday break from school, so we decided to surprise him. On Monday, as he and his dad got off the train in Wilsonville, Conductor Tad Johnson presented him with a big basket filled with WES promotional goodies.

Usually, Joey is quite talkative, but he really didn’t know what to say. He gave a big smile, hugged Conductor Tad, then sprang off to board their connecting SMART bus.

Like those of us who work at WES, Joey really loves trains and knows all about them. According to his dad, this obsession began when he first rode the Oregon Zoo Train, and now Joey’s a big fan of WES. He especially likes the retro “Alaskan” train cars that we use as backups when a regular WES car is out of service.

Back in August, when Joey came to our Wilsonville facility to pick up a toy from Lost & Found, he said he wanted to talk to the “fixer” because his favorite Alaskan train cars weren’t running. We told him we were waiting on parts. A few days later, Joey gave one of the conductors a fistful of handmade money—including a $13 bill and a $49 bill—to help pay for repairs. We distributed the paper money to the mechanics and staff as performance bonuses!

We hope you enjoyed the surprise, Joey. We sure did! Happy holidays to you, and to all our riders!

TALK ABOUT IT: Discuss this post on Facebook

Jeff Lowe

I’ve been the Director of Operations for TriMet’s WES Commuter Rail line for four years. Previously, I served as chief operations officer for the Northern Indiana Commuter Rail Transportation District, and I spent 24 years in management at Amtrak. My career began as a locomotive engineer.

More Posts