Shuttle driver’s actions praised in popular Facebook post: ‘I saw God in that shuttle bus’

Shuttle driver Matthew Mathias with passenger Dustin Quimby.

Dustin Quimby stepped onto a shuttle bus expecting a ride. He got that and more from driver Matthew Mathias, whose kindness, compassion and fondness for TV theme songs keep passengers smiling, no matter their circumstances.

Dustin Quimby walked through the doors at the Saint Marys Campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester just in time for his appointment.

Then he realized his appointment was at the Methodist Campus.

"I was frustrated with myself," Dustin says. "I was already sick and tired of being sick and now was inconvenienced by my own mistake."

A security officer suggested that Dustin could save time by catching a shuttle downtown rather than trying to drive there himself. He followed that advice.

That decision transformed Dustin's day.

And when he shared his experience in a Facebook post on Spotted in Rochester, it did the same for many others. The post has been liked more than 1,500 times and shared 51 times.

He was pretty clear about how it affected him.

"I hope you get to meet Matthew," Dustin wrote, "and witness the hope and healing that takes place here in our city and at Mayo Clinic."

Doing more than driving

Dustin boarded a nearly empty shuttle that morning. Matthew Mathias was at the wheel.

"Matthew chatted with me, asked me what I did," says Dustin, who owns a body shop. "He asked how deer season impacted my workload. He put me at ease."

Later that day, Dustin caught a shuttle back to Saint Marys Campus. Again, Mathias was at the wheel. He greeted Dustin with a wave and a cheery, "You're back!"

This time, the shuttle was full. And Mathias seemed to know every rider by name. 

"He knew people's hobbies," Dustin says. "He knew if they needed a wheelchair."

After helping a patient aboard the shuttle, Mathias sat the patient next to Dustin and mentioned Dustin's occupation.

"He knew the patient liked cars, so he sat us together," Dustin says.

If you ever make the same mistake I did today, count it as a blessing. I saw God in that shuttle bus this morning and my heart is full.

Dustin Quimby

Mathias also played DJ, playing theme songs from TV shows and leading passengers in singalongs.

As the shuttle made its way from downtown to Saint Marys, stopping at the Gift of Life Transplant House, Hope Lodge and the Ronald McDonald House along the way, Dustin noticed something.

Everyone on the shuttle was smiling.

"Some of those people may never leave Rochester," Dustin says. "But there was joy on that shuttle."

Seeing that joy inspired his Facebook post.

"If you ever make the same mistake I did today, count it as a blessing," Dustin wrote. "I saw God in that shuttle bus this morning and my heart is full."

'Small acts of kindness and compassion'

Mathias believes he's living his destiny.

"When I was in high school, I took an aptitude test," he says. "It would tell you what you were meant to be. Doctor. Lawyer. Mine came back 100% bus driver. I can't remember what I had for dinner last night, but I do remember that."

Mathias with some of the door attendants he's "in awe of."

It's a role that fits his personality.

"Matthew possesses a natural gift for empathy and understanding, which are essential qualities in customer service, particularly in his role as a shuttle driver," says Nathan DeDamos, manager of Facilities Support Services and Mathias' supervisor. "His genuine good nature shines through in every interaction, making people feel valued and cared for."

Mathias says his good nature and ability to keep a positive attitude are gifts from his parents, Mary and Joe.

"My mom and dad are the greatest blessings in my life," says Mathias. "My mom does not know the definition of a bad day. She taught me that it doesn't cost anything to be nice."

He sees that same attitude in many of his colleagues.

"I'm in awe of our door attendants," Matthew says. "Whether it's 20 below or 90 degrees, they are there for our patients. I have so much respect for my co-workers."

He's also grateful "to the supervisors who support us."

That includes DeDamos, who recognizes the important role Matthew and others play in a patient's healthcare journey.

"It's crucial for staff to recognize the invaluable role that all members of the healthcare team play in the patient experience," DeDamos says. "While the contributions of shuttle drivers may sometimes go unnoticed, they are an integral part of the support system that helps patients navigate their healthcare journey with ease and comfort.

"It's these small acts of kindness and compassion that truly make a difference in people's lives," DeDamos says, "and I'm grateful for individuals like Matthew who embody those qualities every day."

Nathan DeDamos, Matthew Mathias and Jessica White.