Operator of the Month

Bus and light rail operators who have gone above and beyond

September 2017:
Val McDaniel

September 2017 - Val McDaniel

This month, RTD recognizes bus driver, Val McDaniel, who has received numerous commendations. He was most recently nominated by passenger Curtis Bradfield for his excellent customer service. Val drives various routes including the 21, and the latest Route 15 from the Decatur Federal Station to the Colfax Station.

Passenger Curtis Bradfield wrote:
“The best bus driver I’ve ever seen! It was a pleasure riding his bus. He made me smile first thing getting on and I was in a grumpy mood. He announced his stops, said thanks to passengers getting on and off. He even let us know about stores on the left and right, he announced landmarks too. He really enjoyed his job which is rare these days. He changed my whole day! He was prompt, polite and put people in a good mood. He deserves some kind of recognition for his role as a bus driver. Thanks Val you are rare and appreciated. Very classy and wish all RTD bus drivers are like you. Thanks again!.”

After receiving the commendation from Curtis, we wanted to know more about Val, and he graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions.

How long have you worked for RTD?
July 30th marked my 12th anniversary as a driver for RTD.
What were you in a previous life?
I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I’ve done a lot in this life. While I’ve driven buses and limousines for many years, I’ve also enjoyed work in sales and the dance studio. As a young man, I worked in President Kennedy’s administration as a liaison officer, recruiting college students to work for one of nine US government cabinets. I was also a top salesperson and management trainer for both Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire Dance Studios. My stamp collecting hobby turned into a business that helped me travel all around the country.
What do you like best about your job?
I most enjoy the people I meet. As an operator for RTD, I’m here to serve the customers, getting them to their destinations safety, and also trying to help make their day a little more pleasant. I’m a people person, and I love to make people smile.
If you could listen to music while working, what type?
I love the old romantic songs from the 50’s that you can sing and dance to, like Frank Sinatra, Bill Haley and The Comets, The Crew Cuts, Doris Day, etc. The younger generation don’t know what they’re missing in these tunes!
If you could deck out your bus, what style?
I’d deck out the driver’s area of the bus like the cockpit of a semi-truck, by ergonomically rearranging and moving all communication devices and electric gear within easy reach of the driver. This change would make it easier to reach critical equipment.
If you could change your uniform color, what color or does brown/gray go with your eyes?
I like the current black and gray uniforms. I think they’re very comfortable and look very professional.
What type of service would you drive if given the choice and/or favorite service to drive?
I’m a people person, so I like all the routes I’ve driven. If given a choice, I’d prefer one of the long neighborhood routes, like route 21 from Aurora Metro Center Station to Green Mountain and the Federal Center. This route is very relaxing to drive.
What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
I’m very active. I love attending formal dinner dances each week. My wife and I have a beautiful rose garden that has previously won Garden of the Year in our community. I love tinkering, traveling, and sightseeing. Life is good!