When Coach Operator Nathan Weathersbee came to California in 1962, he made
a promise to himself—that he would one day own a big house and have a pocket full of money. It’s a dream he’s achieved through hard work, determination and an indomitable spirit.
Nate grew up on a farm in South Carolina with his parents and eleven brothers and sisters. They lived in a two bedroom house and slept three to a bed. The family had a cow, some crops and a handful of chickens that they managed to survive on. From the time he was little, he was out in the field picking cotton, corn or anything else that needed harvesting. He was always a quick learner, confident in his abilities and never one to let an opportunity pass him by.
Nate’s first experience with driving came when he was 8-years-old and taught himself how to drive the family tractor. Years later in high school he drove the school bus for the black students. Racial segregation permeated every aspect of southern culture in those days, and Nate was acutely aware of the limitations it imposed. But his belief in himself never wavered. “It just made me stronger. I always felt there was nothing I couldn’t do, given the chance.” When he graduated high school in 1962 he decided to leave the south and move to California in search of new opportunities.
“My daddy had taught me how to cut hair when I was little,” said Nate. “And I actually became pretty good at it. I used to cut hair for all the kids in our neighborhood.“ When he got to California, he went to school to become a certified barber and had his own shop for several years. But when he had a family of his own and needed benefits, he decided to try bus driving again and went to work for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in LA for 11 years.
Nine years ago he joined the Omnitrans West Valley team. “I love coming to work. Every day is something different,” said Nathan. “I’m a people person, and you have to like people to be good at this job. In some ways barbering is not so different from bus driving. I can see in people’s eyes if they’re not happy or if they might be difficult. I talk to them with calmness and respect and they almost always leave my bus with a smile and a ‘thank you, bus driver’. In fact, every day before I get on the bus I say a simple prayer. God protect this bus. No harm, no accidents and no confrontations from anybody. Just let me have a peaceful day,” Nate smiles. ”And I do.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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