Each month we highlight operators and other employees for their exceptional customer service. This month we recognize Will Mercado for showing professionalism and humanity after encountering a difficult situation.
“When I got on, a disgruntled man (not wearing a mask) was getting off telling the driver he hopes he dies. At 9th we picked up a guy. Driver asked if he had a mask. Guy said no and got off. The driver stopped and opened the door again. He asked if the guy needed a mask. He nodded yes and the driver gave him one. Said it was his last. Great composure after being yelled at just minutes prior. Bus drivers don't get the respect or pay they deserve. This driver deserves some recognition at the very least. Thank you.”
After receiving the commendation, we wanted to know more about Will, and he graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions.
- How long have you driven for RTD, and have you always been a bus driver?
- I’ve been a driver for almost 13 years. I’ve also done a number of side gigs—I used to do stereo installations during my lunch breaks.
- What were you in a previous life?
- I was definitely a leader of some type. I used to be a union steward and served on the Safety Committee. I like to help guide people to the right path, both new and seasoned drivers, to help them make the right decisions.
- What do you like best about your job?
- Interaction is the best part—if you don’t like to interact with people this is not the job for you. I get to hear the stories of peoples’ lives. I’ve met people with doctorate degrees who are now homeless—you never know who you are going to meet. Stories are never-ending, and you experience a chapter of someone’s life.
- If you could listen to music while working, what type?
- I’m from Jersey, so it would definitely be old school hip hop. Biggie, Busta Rhymes, and Jay-Z is what you’d hear. People looking for some custom work or music recommendations come to me first.
- If you could deck out your bus, what style?
- Anyone who knows me knows that you hear me coming before you see me. I’d add speakers, subwoofers, and 28-inch rims to the bus.
- If you could change your uniform color, what color?
- I kind of like the all black and black and tan looks. The gray is too confusing because sometimes people mistake us for security.
- What type of service would you drive if given the choice and/or favorite service to drive or operate?
- When you’ve been with RTD as long as I have, you learn to love all of them. I like the local run and express trippers like the ones to the mountains.