I grew up on Long Island, in a small town. I ended up going to college in Los Angeles. From there, I migrated to other areas of the country. I’ve always been one to experience everything.
I had driven a school bus in New York. Not only that, I used to hang on the pants of my father. He was a truck driver, he just drove all sorts of vehicles. I was thirteen, driving in the parking lots of the train stations. I had a lot of road experience, so I felt very confident in coming to GRTC.
I was on the Petersburg run for almost two years. Drove the coach bus. That’s the largest bus we have. It’s a dream ride. Not every operator wants to drive that bus.
I was treated like gold. They adored me and I adored them. We bonded. They spoiled me at every celebration—birthday, Christmas-—it didn’t even have to be a celebration. They just poured out gifts to me, because I got them home in time. So that they can have an evening of whatever they needed to do. I never dragged my feet and we worked as a team.
Every three years, there’s an election that takes place for the officers in the union. In June of 2011, we had an election. I ran for the position of financial secretary, amongst four male members. That was my first time ever running for a position.
So it was very intense for me.
I have my own business. And when the position came around, there were several people that approached me. I hadn’t really thought about it. When you have enough people come to you, you start thinking about it a little bit. I thought with the background that I had already, that this should be okay, I should be able to handle this.
One of the people from the Petersburg run, Derek Mountford, he actually assisted me with the campaign. When I told him that I was getting ready to run for office, he said, ‘oh, that’s wonderful.’
He just wanted to help me. He wanted to see it done right. And I said, ‘I am really new to this. Do you have any ideas?’
He was extremely helpful. He came up with little short banners that described who I was, what kind of person I was, and how I would be good for the union.
The attacks on drivers have increased so much. It’s becoming more and more dangerous out there. Nationwide, passengers are attacking drivers. And that’s why the unions nationwide are fighting to have more convictions on people that attack drivers. There need to be heavier laws on that.
I come from a union family. So we realize the importance of union, and the strength of it. The newcomers come in, we try to get them in training so they understand what the union is about and how important it is.