Nine-year-old girl is Sounder conductor for a day with help from dad
Sounder riders may remember a young and untypical voice delivering the morning PA announcements earlier this year. April 24 was National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and Sounder Conductor Dan Middelburg's best day on the railroad after 19 years of BNSF Railway Company service. "My daughter Bridget is nine years old and begged me to take her," Middelburg said. "She wanted to do everything I do, including getting up at 3 a.m. She actually woke up before me she was so excited."
Middelburg, a Sounder conductor since 2006, said Bridget, dressed in full uniform, made all the announcements, greeted the passengers and took her job very seriously. "She spent the whole day with me and insisted on doing everything she could to assist in the safe, on-time, and professional operation of our trains," he said. One of the highlights of the day was when Bridget got to meet Chris, a deaf and blind Sounder passenger who communicates through tactile signing. "I've been telling my kids how I'm slowly learning some tactile signing and Chris has been patiently teaching me," Middelburg said. "He taught her some words and they were really excited to talk to each other. He even invented a sign for her name, which I didn't know was possible!"
Being a conductor was a long, busy day for nine-year-old Bridget. She fell asleep before her dad even left the parking lot. "Days later people were still telling me how much they enjoyed having Bridget on the train. The next day at work I was lonely- I missed my Assistant Conductor." Sounder trains are operated by BNSF and all the conductors and engineers are BNSF employees.
Follow Sound Transit on Instagram to see this picture of Dan and his daughter on Sounder and other transit-inspired photography.