When Tammie Felder-Herring, Seabury Connector Driver, enters her vehicle, she happily prepares for whatever the day may bring. “Every day is different but a complete joy. I love talking to the older adults and cherish the time I spend with them,” Felder-Herring says. During her rides with her customers, she says she gets a chance to learn about their lives, their children, and even their plans for dinner. “I see a lot of the same people weekly. I know their patterns and they know mine. It’s much more than just a driver and rider relationship,” she says.
What motivates Felder-Herring to always greet her customers with a cheerful smile and a listening ear is her own experience of caring for loved ones in failing health. “My sister died of cancer and later my mom died. I treat every customer like how I wanted my mother and sister treated when they were ill,” she continues. “I worry about the older adults a lot. Some of them don’t have family or loved ones to interact with daily, and I’m sometimes the only person they talk to that day. That’s why it’s important for me to make a lasting and positive impact on their lives,” Felder-Herring says. She combats this social isolation by making sure her customers know how valued they are to her. “It matters to me if they’re happy and safe. If they look sad or lonely, I ask, ‘Are you okay,’” Felder-Herring says.
She knows the small things can bring about a great and positive change in someone’s mood. “Sometimes my mom and I would just shop. Sometimes that was all she would want to do. Just get out the house and shop. It’s the little things that bring people joy,” Felder-Herring says.
Felder-Herring is now preparing for her next role as a grandmother, herself. “My son is expecting his daughter on Christmas day,” she says through a full smile. “My husband, daughter and I will be in Texas for Christmas welcoming my first grandchild into the world,” Felder Herring adds excitedly.
Seabury’s Connector provided over 140,000 free trips to and from medical and public benefit appointments for District of Columbia older adults last year. The program also worked with the DC Office on Aging and area nonprofits to provide over 170,000 trips delivering meals to homebound and disabled seniors. For more information on Seabury Connector, visit our website or call our service center at 202-727-7771. Service center representatives can also connect you with other area transportation services, including Transport DC and Metro Access.