PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - They are the people we count on to get us around, even during a pandemic. That’s why 3TV’s Gibby Parra and the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad wanted to thank some of them.

Tara Gillam has not missed a day of work since the pandemic began. She thought she was being brought on board a light rail car for some homeland safety training. Little did she know Parra was waiting to play a game with her when she entered.

He first asked Tara what her name was. When she got that right, he handed her a $100 gift card courtesy of Valley Toyota Dealers.

“What’s the name of the company you work for?” Parra asked for his second question. When Tara replied correctly. Parra gave her a second $100 gift card as a reward.

Because Tara’s a bit of a movie buff, Para asked her to name a Denzel Washington movie featuring the star on mass transit. She had a bit of trouble answering that question, but she was still given a third $100 gift card for giving it a try.

Parra then asked what her work motto is. “Whatever it takes,” Tara answered. For getting that correct, he gave her a fourth $100 gift card. He then asked if she had two teenage boys. She said yes, and a fifth $100 gift card was handed to her. Her coworkers in the car with her cheered and applauded.

“One of the things is we want to show you that we’re thinking of you,” Parra continued. “We understand you have not missed a day this whole pandemic.”

“I’m working like, six days a week,” Tara said. “I just show up and do my job. I’ve got bills to pay, I’ve got mouths to feed and I’m going to show up and do my job the best I can every day.” She added that she was going to use the money to help pay down her debt. “It’ll go to pay off another credit card and be on my way to be debt-free. This is awesome.”

The surprises weren’t over. Parra made his way to a plaza in Phoenix where three bus drivers in face masks and green safety vests were waiting. They thought they were there for a social media photo shoot.

“I understand you’re great at what you do,” Parra said to one of the drivers named Jim. “As a matter of fact you’ve trained a lot of people over the 39 years you’ve been with Transdev.” Parra then called over the other two drivers. “You go above and beyond. I’m hearing from people, the stuff you’ve been doing since you’ve been working here, bringing smiles to people’s faces.”

“I try,” the second bus driver, named Cashus, said with a laugh.

Parra turned to the third driver, a woman named Roseann. “How do you make people smile during this hard time?”

“Just trying to be a good driver and good customer service, ‘cause people are having a hard time out there.”

Parra then held out three large envelopes. “Here’s the surprise I have for you guys for being so great. I have gift cards, $500 worth of gift cards for you.” He handed the envelopes out and then gave each driver a friendly elbow-dab.

“I didn’t expect this,” Cashus said. “I don’t even know what to say.”

“I’m honored,” Roseann added.

“It’s a blessing,” Jim said. “We do what we do. We’re just like the folks on our buses. We’re kind of struggling day-by-day, trying to keep our own heads above water.”

“You guys deserve it,” Parra said.


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