If I haven’t already made it super clear, I don’t drive any longer. I take public transportation, and to be perfectly honest, it’s not all that big of a deal. I used to really hate it due to the fact that it takes away some of my independence, but I have come to embrace it somewhat and some days I find I even enjoy the rides. The Orange County Transportation Authority has been kind of sketchy to most people and at first I’ll admit I was a skeptic about riding the public buses around town. Now that I have been from the northernmost parts of Orange County down to the beach and back and forth a bunch of times, I find that it’s not all that terrible. Some days I am able to focus on audio books even or watch a video or two on YouTube, but for the most part I just listen to my music and watch Orange County go by.
Of course what goes along with riding on the OCTA buses is everyone else who needs to use public transportation. These persons range from anyone who is unable to drive like myself, to senior citizens who are too fragile to drive, to handicapped persons in wheelchairs, to young people getting to school, to homeless folks going to the local shelter or even persons who are on the way to work. The spectrum of people who ride is so wide, it blows my mind. I have seen so many different types of people coming and going from place to place and it makes me wonder all the places they are coming and going to and I wonder what they’re lives are like, and families, and all sorts of things. This is people watching at its finest folks.
I also take advantage of my access to OCTA’s Access program. This is for persons such as myself who may need assistance while riding in public transport. I had to go in and interview for such a privilege as this because I have a seizure disorder and at times, may need help getting from point “A” to point “B” as it were. Lucky me, I have this “Dial-A-Ride” service at my service now and so I take advantage of it when I am in need. If I otherwise might have to take 2 to 3 buses to get across Orange County, the Access bus will be able to take me directly from one point to the next in one go. It’s amazing and the drivers are truly wonderful people from what I have seen. Some of them have been working for the OCTA for years and some only a few months. So many different lovely persons who are able to drive around persons such as myself with special or specific needs in transportation and they are well skilled in making sure we are safe throughout our rides. The Access buses are able to carry multiple wheelchairs at a time as well as persons like myself that are “ambulatory” as they call it and are able to get around on their own. I am truly blessed to be able to have this service when I need it. Annnnnd it only costs me $3.60 each way. BEAT THAT UBER!
Through the OCTA Access program I have learned also about the Yellow Cab Company having a deal with them since I have been picked up and driven by many a cab driver over the past few years. Some of them are Indian yes, but some of them are immigrants from other places, while others yet are simply people from the states trying to make a living. One man I recall meeting while in his cab was from Ethiopia and I somehow began asking about his life as I tend to do if alone in a vehicle with my driver. He told me that he used to own his own business in his country and that he had a family there too. When I asked if they came to the United States with him, he began to tear up. I apologized for prying and he said it was alright, just that no one had asked him about them in so long. He told me that in his country, they took his business from him when the government went under and they killed his family in the war and that he left to come here to live a new life and make money. He told me about his wife and children and how he missed them very much but that he is doing his best now to be successful without them. I thanked him kindly for sharing his story with me and for being my driver that day. The following day he was my driver once again, and when he picked me up I could see the obvious glee that he felt that I would be his passenger. During this second trip with him, he spoke about things he loved to do and his goals with his business and things that we had in common. It was a whole new day and to be perfectly clear, I made a friend and I know that when I ride in a Yellow Cab, not to judge anyone who drives me based on anything I see, but to get to know the driver and who is making sure I get where I am supposed to be safely.
Each time I meet a driver I try my best to be the best passenger I can. By doing so, I make every trip I take much more fun and a pleasant time for my driver as well. I also try to be pleasant to anyone else I meet on the public buses, Access buses and yellow cabs. You never know who you will be crossing paths with, and it is best to be on your best behavior. At least that has done me some good thus far!
Sarah Marilu Mason
Designer, A Rainbow of Essentials
714-264-0668 | email@example.com | https://www.etsy.com/ARainbowofEssentials | Buena Park, CA