When voters go to the polls in San Diego on Election Day, many of them will be greeted by a big-rig driver.
Boyd Applegate hauls freight for a living, but each Election Day he comes home to volunteer at the polls.
Boyd has worked nearly every election — primary and general — for the past 20 years.
And he spoke with his sister, Rhonda Dixon, for StoryCorps.
Boyd won the Goodyear Highway Hero Award in 1993 for saving 3 people from auto accidents.
Listen here to Boyd speaking about his volunteer work as a real-beard Santa Claus.
Click here for the transcript.
And every morning when we open the polls there is a particular voter—he's right there. He's always my first voter.
After that, the rest of the day I’m being greeted before I can even look up from the table and see who’s there. They go, “Oh you’re here again … hi!”
People tell me about their families, and I have a lot of friendships solely based on Election Day.
Rhonda Dixon (RD): So do you take time off of your regular job so that you can do the elections?
BA: Oh absolutely—my regular job is I’m a truck driver. And December of this year I will actually achieve the five-million-mile mark.
RD: So Boyd, why do you still do the work that you do volunteering at the polls on Election Day?
BA: Over the years, I’ve run into many people who are naturalized citizens—they’ve come from all over the world. I’ve had people approach me and ask me, “How much do I have to pay to cast my ballot?” I've had people with tears in their eyes, grown people, who are voting for the first time in their life because the country where they come from they didn’t have that right.
And if I can help lighten the mood and set them at ease that they’re doing fine and there is no wrong way to vote—I honestly believe that what I am doing is important.
I’m there as a representative of what’s right in America, and I enjoy it.
RD: What would you like people to remember you for?
BA: I’d like anybody who ever knew me to…to remember me for having a heart. I found my heart somewhere along the way, and I’m glad I did, and I’m glad I can share it with people.