“Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. This is your day and you will never, ever have another day like this. Make the most of it. Make your parents proud, your brothers and sisters jealous, and your friends weep with envy. Go Rams!“
This is the mantra that Transfort bus operator David Boling recites for his passengers each morning. “And stay away from tobacco products!” he adds as they file out the exit and head to class.
Boling—or “Coco Budduh” as the students at Colorado State University have fondly nicknamed him—has worked in Fort Collins transit for 16 months.
“I like to engage the passengers,” Boling said. “It makes my day a little brighter, go a little faster. I like messing with you kids.”
A CSU alumnus himself, Boling has also been known to do CSU trivia and crack jokes with his passengers. He claims that chatting with the students also helps to keep him from getting bored while driving his route.
“If you think about it, you’re driving around in circles and it gets monotonous,” Boling said. “That’s one of the reasons I do what I do.”
According to Transfort Operations manager, Carol Thomas, customer service is a huge factor when hiring drivers.
“We can teach people to drive, but we can’t teach people to like people,” Thomas said. “Customer service is the first thing we hire for and Dave pretty much exemplifies that.”
Thomas—who is also a CSU alumna—has worked for Transfort for 25 years.
“Transporting people safely and getting them to their destination is important,” Thomas said. “But when you add that customer service piece it makes all the difference.”
When dropping students back off at home on Friday afternoons, Boling modifies his mantra.
“Instead of Carpe Diem it’s Carpe Noctum, seize the night,” Boling said. “If it’s Friday, I encourage them to make poor decisions, have fun, but don’t get hurt, don’t hurt anyone, and don’t get caught. That’s part of college, making decisions you regret and learning from them.”
Boling tells the students that he hopes they come back on Monday morning with a good story to tell him about their weekends.
Second year business major, Theron Mekelburg has been a passenger on Boling’s bus on several occasions.
“He stood out as always being joyful and happy and a little silly,” Mekelburg said. “It’s the perfect way to start off a school day, especially when it’s 8 a.m. and the last thing you want to do is take a bus and go to class.”
Whether he is the first person the students see before starting their day, or the last person before going home at night, Boling said he hopes he impacts them in a positive way.
“I hope it’s positive, I really do,” he said. “That’s what I strive for. None of us are getting out of here alive, so if we can laugh with each other and at ourselves I believe there’s a strength there.”
Mekelberg said he thinks the positivity is felt by all of the students on board.
“I specifically remember he was able to make a whole bus chuckle once and that can make or break a day,” Mekelburg said. “It always has a positive effect.”
Boling is one of almost 100 Transfort bus operators who drive 19 routes and serve over 500 stops.
“It’s a great bunch of people who care about what they do, and they care about CSU,” Boling said. “With Transfort, it’s about customer service. It’s about serving the public.”
Boling gets people where they need to go, and has a good time doing it.
“It’s just fun,” Boling said. “You can see the enthusiasm. I’ve even on occasion had people wanting to take a selfie with me, which is very flattering.”
For Boling, a simple “thank you” is the best reward.
“The ultimate compliment to me is when people come up to say thank you,” Boling said. “That means more than you’ll ever know to a bus driver.”
Boling said the best part of his job is the reciprocal positive impact.
“If I help them start their day off in a right way with a positive attitude, I’d like them to know that I get the same back from them,” he said. “It really means a lot to me when I see a bus full of smiling faces and if I can get them to chuckle or laugh, it’s worthwhile.”
Need a pep talk? Watch Boling deliver his daily mantra.