Crystal Lemus has big dreams for her life. And Omnitrans is helping her get there.
A 21-year-old student at Riverside Community College, Crystal is studying to be a registered nurse. She is fluent in English, Italian, German and Spanish. She’s an avid reader, a lover of Greek mythology and enjoys drawing—especially portraits of people. People fascinate her, and she likes sketching their faces.
In fact, her passion for people and desire to help others is the driving force behind her ultimate goal: to work for Doctors Without Borders. Applicants to the organization must pass strict requirements, including a two-year psychological assessment to help ensure their emotional stability when dealing with the issues that arise in war-torn countries. But the thought of serving in a third world country doesn’t make Crystal at all nervous. She’s committed to her dream. Her mom died when she was 13-years-old, and she spent two years growing up in foster care. “It really made me want to help people who didn’t have the same opportunities as everyone else,” said Crystal. “We take health care very much for granted in this country. But there are people all over the world who just don’t have the same opportunities and many die because they don’t have health care available to them. I want to help make a difference.”
Crystal has been riding Omnitrans since she was 18. As a full-time student, she relies on it to get her back and forth from her home in Colton to Riverside Community College five days a week. “It saves me hundreds of dollars,” said Crystal. “Before I started using Omnitrans, I had to try to find other students to catch a ride with and pay them $20 to cover gas. On top of that, I was always worried that they might not be on time and I’d be late for class. It was very stressful. Now I just buy a bus pass and it’s so much cheaper. It saves time and gives me the independence to be able to come and go as I need to. I’m also more disciplined in my schoolwork now because I can use the travel time to study or read my anatomy book. I can focus more.”
The bus has also offered some surprising opportunities to put her studies into practice. “About two years ago I was on Route 14 to Fontana when the man sitting in front of me started holding his chest and complaining of pain. He fell forward and started seizing. I ran over to him and held him to keep him from hurting himself. I rolled up a tight tube of paper and used it to keep him from biting his tongue while still giving him space to breath. The paramedics arrived pretty quickly and thanked me for helping him. You never really know when something like that is going to happen and it feels good to have the skills to handle it.”
Crystal recommends Omnitrans to other students as a great way to save money and offers these tips for new riders. “Be sure to check bus schedules in advance so you know which routes will get you where you need to go. If you’re traveling at night, it’s also important to know when the last run is so you don’t get stranded somewhere with no way to get back. The bus drivers are really nice and good about helping when you have questions.”
- Juno Kughler Carlson
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