Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Do You Know What We Do?

I spent the past 2 weeks in Appalachia, training Rural Transit Drivers. Lot's of you might see the 22 foot cutaway buses traveling the highways and byways, but never know exactly what they're doing and where they're going. During the last 2 weeks, I've been working in Hazard and Mt. Vernon, KY in the Appalachian hills and mountains, and in Bowling Green, KY, working with rural transit drivers. Paducah Area Transit System (PATS) is also classified as a rural transit. Let me tell you a little about these drivers.

They don't get paid much. Usually $7.50 to 9.50 per hour. Many of them are retired from other jobs, or got laid off from factory jobs. More and more of them say they worked at factories for 10 plus years, until NAFTA closed them down, or corporate cutbacks led to their factories closing the doors. Many of them, though, say they love their new jobs, even though they don't get paid much. They say they feel like they're touching others' lives in ways they never imagined. It's true.

They're taking patients to life-saving dialysis and other medical appointments. They're taking home-bound persons to the grocery store. They're taking people to church. They're getting these people out, and letting them live life to the fullest extent possible. They're taking mentally challenged people to their "jobs," at places which use menial labor to make simple products, but you can't imagine how much it means to these mentally challenged people to help support themselves. They rarely miss work. They take great pride in their work. Other workers could take a lesson from them.

If it were not for these drivers, many people would never leave an 8 x 10 room. One driver told us that he had recently transported a person who had not left their home in 2 years. Drivers bond with their regular passengers. The passengers notice when their regular driver takes a day off. The drivers notice when a regular passenger isn't there. Sometimes it's because that passenger has "passed on," and a few tears are shed. Some of the drivers see their passengers more than the passengers' own family members, and they bond. It's a special relationship.

God surely has a special destination in mind, for rural transit drivers.

1 comment:

Hiettspop said...

My wife is a monitor on a special needs bus here in Georgia. We have both learned so much by her having this job, and can relate to the story about these drivers. Nice blog, Happy Holidays.

p.s. you and I were neighbors back in the early 90's when you were doing weather for WPSD and living in the 2 -story quadplex thingy in Lone Oak.