I started at UCLA in April 2009 with a limited 6 month assignment. My excitement quickly turned into the question “what did I do” as I drove to and from work by myself on the freeway. I quickly learned about the vanpool option however, there weren’t any spaces available for my time slot. I began to call Ricardo everyday twice a day asking about availability. Ricardo started answering the phone saying my name since he had caller ID. I eventually started riding his van which was 15 minutes away as a plus 1 rider. I was desperate and it was better than driving all the way to work alone and frustrated. Ricardo asked me several times to be a driver. I said no way every time. A few months later a new van opened up closer to my house and I became a backup driver. The backup status didn’t last long and I became a co-driver.

Eventually I became the coordinator of our van. The riders & other drivers call, email or text me throughout the day. I also get calls and text when I’m off. When I’m on vacation I make an announcement on the van to contact the other drivers. I joke with my co-driver that this is my calling. I love my vanpool and the riders and wouldn’t give it up for the world.

-Elaine