Joe Woods drives the Jolly Trolley every Friday afternoon, greeting riders with a smile and his signature greeting, “Today is Friday. And on Fridays, all the rides are free.”
Riders usually respond with a smile and a chuckle. For Joe, connecting with people, putting a smile on their faces or a smile in their hearts is what driving the Jolly Trolley is about. He’s not just moving people from one area of the community to another—he’s serving them. His perspective makes all the difference.
He drives with a servant’s heart, recognizing, greeting and acknowledging people as he drives from the Apartment Suites Lobby to Mountain View and back again. He says, “When I’m driving, I look at myself as being less important than others. I wait for people to pass and I don’t rush through doorways. I let others go first.” When he can safely do so, he also holds a conversation with his passengers, trying to ensure they have a pleasant experience.
The Civil War-era kepi Joe wears as he drives reveals his love of history. He has donated guided tours of Gettysburg to the Fall Festival Auction. The people who purchase the tours enjoy Joe’s easy storytelling style as he leads them through the battlefields, sharing the stories of the men who fought there. Joe believes the details of the battles are important, but he shares the stories of the soldiers because the people are more compelling… and telling the story of their bravery, courage and grace honors their lives and sacrifice.
Joe also tells compelling stories to Garden Spot High School students through GSV/GSHS Living History partnership. A huge Penn State football fan since childhood, Joe’s favorite story to tell is the origin of “We are…Penn State.” The slogan has been tied to the 1947 Cotton Bowl, when the football team captain defended his African American teammates by saying “We are…Penn State…and we travel as a team.” The team stayed at a naval base because they couldn’t stay together in what was then segregated Dallas, Texas. Again, Joe could tell the facts of segregation in the 1940s and 1950s, but he believes that making the story relevant and unforgettable makes a greater impact on the students.
Joe embodies the Garden Spot Village mission to enrich the lives of others as an expression of Christ’s love by leading devotions in Mountain View a couple of times a month. Joe says, “Any time I can show God’s love to others, it is time well spent. I always leave the devotions with a feeling of satisfaction in my heart… that I’ve brought God’s love, some reassurance and a bit of happiness to the men and women who live in Mountain View.”
Joe and his wife Sally moved to Garden Spot Village in July 2013 after they followed a church friend’s recommendation to visit the community. Joe says, “We were praying that we would move to the community where God wanted us to be… The minute we walked in the door, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. We are so happy to be at Garden Spot Village. God knew what he was doing when he led us here.”