Naarai "Pea" Zaynah

One of the great perks of ferry transit is the friendly environment that the ferry employees create.

Naarai Zaynah had never taken a ferry before working with Blue & Gold Fleet on the Vallejo route. She now loves her work and can see why so many people choose to commute by water every day.

BY MATT LARSON

 

One of the great perks of ferry transit is the friendly environment that the ferry employees create. Nobody is there to greet you at your car after a long day’s work, nor does anyone say “right this way” when you step into a BART car. But on the ferry, warm welcomes and smiling faces are commonplace.

 

One of those smiling faces is Naarai “Pea” Zaynah (pronounced “za-ee-nuh”), a deckhand for Blue & Gold Fleet. “We at Blue & Gold strive to be the reason that our travelers have an enjoyable experience going to and from their destination,” she said. “We are an outstanding company.”

 

What makes her job particularly easy is the fact that Zaynah truly, wholeheartedly enjoys it. “I really, really like what I do,” she said. “I’m so glad I’m working with the individuals that I’m working with, and for the company that I’m working for.” One of the biggest surprises she noticed during her training was how much she liked the job.

 

“I knew that it was something that I wanted to do, but when I actually started getting trained and being on the water, working with diverse personalities, I just fell in love with it even more,” she said. “I didn’t know that it was going to be this great of a company.”

 

Zaynah had never traveled by ferry before taking this job, but she has taken to working on the water pretty well. “It’s therapeutic being on the water,” she said, especially with the calmness of the passengers. “For 50-plus minutes, going to and from San Francisco, you can unwind, you can get on your phone, your laptop, tend to your business or you can just kick back and relax. You don’t have to be in the chaos of driving.”

 

A relaxing atmosphere seems to come naturally for Zaynah. She likes to spend her spare time doing yoga, walking, listening to music, attending a play or a movie, or going to the roller rink—but definitely not watching television. Also, when she’s not out interacting with the passengers, securing the boats so everyone gets on and off safely, she’s working in Oakland as a professional hairdresser.

 

Being a hairdresser hardly feels like work, as Zaynah loves providing a peaceful experience for her clients. “It’s down time for women who come into the salon,” she said. “If they’re having a stressful day—kids, work, whatever—they come to the salon, they get to sit in the chair, get a massage, relax, talk about what’s going good or what’s going not so good.”

 

Since taking the job with the ferry, Zaynah’s hairdressing time is limited, but it’s no surprise that she’s still kept some of the same clients for years. “If I can have an interaction with an individual and they feel better when they leave me than they did when they approached, I think that makes one a better human being.” You can be sure that she brings that same philosophy to working on the ferry boats.

 

Zaynah and her fellow ferry crew are all here to make your life better. When you’re weighing your options between BART, driving or carpool, it’s really no contest if the ferry fits your schedule. “You can’t beat it,” said Zaynah. “You get to go for a boat ride, there’s a bar on it, it’s clean, it’s efficient and it’s relaxing. What could be better than that?”

       

Even a bad day becomes a good one on the ferry boat, and you can rely on Zaynah to cheer you up if need be. “I’m always smiling,” she said. “I like to smile, I like to be happy.” So next time you see her, greet her with a smile and enjoy your freshly brightened day.