BELLINGHAM - It's been 22 years and more than half a million miles without a dent or a ding for Cheryl Jeffery.
After two decades behind the wheel, the Whatcom Transportation Authority bus driver retired with a spotless record Wednesday, July 31.
Jeffery's boss, operations supervisor Geoff Beaumont, praised her driving and the bubbly, caring personality that has made her such a hit with passengers and coworkers alike.
"If only we could have more Cheryls," he said.
To celebrate her last day on the job, Jeffery's daughter, Lummi Nation School teacher Alana Marshall, brought about 30 kids from her summer camp to decorate Jeffery's bus at WTA's Bakerview Spur location and ride her last route from downtown Bellingham to Fairhaven.
"I'm so proud of her," Marshall said of her mom's successful career.
The kids made big, colorful banners congratulating "Grannie Cheryl" and wishing her a happy retirement, taping them up on the outside of the bus for other drivers to see. Inside of the bus, handmade cards were taped to handrails and every surface that wasn't a window.
"They were so excited," Marshall said of the field trip. "Some of the grown-ups are like, 'Why are you going on a bus ride?' And the kids are like, "Yeah!'"
As Jeffery got on the bus for her last route, the kids shouted a big hello, and she greeted them with an even bigger smile. Then she got into the driver's seat and adjusted it for the last time.
"It feels really good," Jeffery said of her last day. "It's been a great job. I'm going to miss my passengers. They're like family."