After beginning the job 21 years ago as a driver, Gigliotti quickly became a supervisor. Each day, he sets up the cars on the boardwalk near Poplar Avenue. And at 11 a.m., before assigning drivers and fare-collectors to each of the cars, he puts his hat to his chest for the National Anthem.
Question: Did you come to Wildwood growing up?
Answer: I was born and raised in the Poconos. I grew up there and of course the Poconos is a great resort, so I had no need to come to the Shore. The only time I came to the Shore was when I joined the Army and I came out of the service and then went to work on the railroad - then I used to come down here.
Q: Did you ever think you'd be working a tram car?
A: No, I used to watch 'em going up and down. But I was a railroad-er then, and I never had (any) idea of working on the trams. However, I loved the tram cars. I have 21 years here.
Q: Talk about your time as a Conrail train conductor.
A: I worked for Reading, which Conrail took over. I put 40 years there as a passenger conductor and a freight conductor. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a fascinating job.
Q: Did you take this job straight after retiring?
A: I retired in 1992 from Conrail. I stayed home two weeks and I was going crazy. My wife suggested that I check into these little yellow tram cars down here. We had a home on 23d Street in North Wildwood, so I had someplace to stay. So she called the boss, and the boss hired me.
Q: Which job do you like better?
A: That would be a hard pick. Only thing is, this is 5 m.p.h.; over there, we went 100 m.p.h.
Q: Do you miss driving the tram cars?
A: I still get to do it. I still like it. Every chance I get, I jump behind the wheel.
Q: What's a really unique or interesting experience you've had on the boardwalk driving the tram car?
A: Playing the recording ("Watch the tram car, please!") is very essential, and it's a safety factor, and it's the only defense a driver has - and all I hear when I go by is, "Shut that off! Shut that thing off!" People don't like to hear it. But that's the only defense a driver has, to get the people out of the way.
Q: Have you ever hit something or somebody?
A: Most of our accidents are brushed, [passersby] walking near the line and they brush their elbow or something like that. Never [something] serious.
Q: What would make a passenger angry?
A: Waiting too long for a tram car, not getting off when they put their hands up. They want to get off and maybe [the driver] bypassed it for a block or two. They'll come to me and complain about it, and I handle all those problems.
Q: Do a lot of people try to get on without paying?
A: Not a lot, but some. Some of them say, "I did pay." Well, the tram is $3 per person each way. We have a northbound and a southbound. They seem to think that $3 covers both directions.
Q: Where would we find you eating on your lunch break?
A: In the . . . Original Hot Spot at Cedar Avenue and the Boardwalk.
Q: What do you get there?
A: Sausage and peppers with onions.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your time here?
A: My favorite memory of the boardwalk is the races we had between [Thomas] "Cozy" Morley and Al Alberts, two [entertainers]. They raced 16th Street down to 23d. It was $5 a ride, and it went to their charity. Al Alberts always won because I gave him the fastest engine.
Q: What do you do in the winter?
A: I usually go to Florida, if possible - go down there and relax. Or else I drive [my four] grandkids around.
Q: What draws you back every year?
A: I like the job very much. I like the boardwalk, I enjoy the people. I act as an ambassador. I answer many questions about restaurants and what have you. People come back year after year, and if they don't see me, they'll stop a tram car and say, "Where's that Giggy at?"