May the 4th be with them: Rep. Jackie Speier, first responders honor healthcare workers Star Wars-style

Medical workers at a hospital in San Mateo were honored Monday for their hard work – Star Wars style. 

The celebration was a fun way to thank first responders – and make them smile when so many have been working long hours and are risking their own health to help others.

To mark May 4, also known as Star Wars Day  – other first responders dressed as Yoda, Princess Leia, and other iconic characters cheering on the healthcare workers as they arrived for their morning shift at San Mateo Medical Center. They also handed out cookies, waved signs and honked their horns in a caravan of more than 50 cars. 

Other first responders from San Mateo, Belmont and Foster Cityt participated in the event to show support for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The staff was thrilled.

"This is overwhelming," said Rachel Daly, a respiratory therapist. "It’s overwhelming. It touches our hearts in a way words can’t express."

Radiology manager Jackie Pelka agreed. 

"This is absolutely amazing," she said. "It’s touching to see the appreciation we received from the community and the other first responders for the hard work the medical center does.”

Police and fire chiefs came out to show support as well as local senators, mayors and public officials.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier also came out, dressed as Queen Amidala. 

"We are here today to say thank you to these extraordinary heroes of America," Speier said. "And the first responders of San Mateo and other cities in the area join with us to make sure they realize that we recognize what they’re doing it putting their lives on the line every day to save lives.”

Elissa Harrington is a reporter forKTVU.  Email Elissa at and follow her on Twitter @EHarringtonKTVU