One night after his last run, Omnitrans coach operator Earl Roberts was doing a final bus check before going off shift when a supervisor asked if he would mind transporting a young woman with a small toddler who had missed the last Route 14. Without hesitation, Earl agreed.
“Being a father and grandfather, you think about your own family being in that situation. You can’t leave children stranded like that. And while I was driving the young lady to her stop, we came across other people who had also missed the last bus. So I pulled over and picked them up too. I ended up doing the entire round trip that night. People were grateful for the help, and I didn’t mind,” Earl smiled. “But I did remind them to check the bus book and get familiar with the schedules because this was definitely an exception. We can’t normally do a special run like that.”
A coach operator with more than 30 years of experience, Earl describes his life as simple and happy. “I’m not an exciting person. I don’t scuba dive or skydive or climb mountains or anything like that. I like to read, garden, go for a drive along the coast with my wife, or just spend time with my family. I like working for Omnitrans and take pride in my career. Being a coach operator combines two of the things I enjoy most—driving and working with people. My father taught me his work ethic, and it’s something I’ve always tried to follow. He said son, you work hard, take care of your family, go to church and live by the Golden Rule.”
“Basically I try to treat people the way I’d like to be treated. It’s a learning experience both ways. If you’re good to people they will generally be good to you. A lot of times passengers ask me: ‘You having a good day, coach operator?’ I always smile and say yes. I decided a long time ago that there is no such thing as a bad day. I always have good days. Realistically, let’s face it, sometimes bad things can happen on good days. But every moment is what you make it. It’s your attitude, your outlook on life–that’s what makes the day.”
Earl was honored this month with an Omnitrans Going The Extra Mile (G.E.M.) Award for his exceptional service to our riders. He regularly drives Routes 3, 14 and 20, where he makes it his mission to get a smile from his passengers. If you see him, be sure to give a wave or say hello. And if you ask him what kind of a day he’s having, he’ll always break out into a grin and tell you it’s a good one.
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Email Juno Kughler Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org