Twenty-one-year-old Melissa Paniagua from Fontana was drawn as the Grand Prize winner in the Omnitrans Clean & Green Contest, celebrating 100 million CNG miles. Yesterday she stopped by to visit with us and pick up her prizes of a $100 Target gift card, bus passes worth 100 days of free rides and some fun Omnitrans gear.
Melissa used to ride the bus every day from Fontana to the Marinello Beauty School in San Bernardino. “I started cutting my own hair when I was 15-years-old,” she laughs. “Pretty soon my friends were asking me to cut their hair during school lunch breaks. It’s something I’m good at and really enjoy. I graduated in February and am looking for a professional postion now.”
“Having the bus has made a huge impact in my life. Without Omnitrans, I couldn’t have gotton my cosmotology license. I wasn’t driving when I started school–a car was just too expensive– and I had no other way of getting here. Later I was able to use my boyfriend’s car sometimes, but it was too difficult with our seperate schedules. By riding Omnitrans, I was able to get an education in something I love doing.”
Melissa introduced us to her brother John, another Omnitran regular, and her two children: Jiovanni age 1 and Matalin age 2. John told us one of their favorite things to do was buy a bus pass and go on an adventure for the day as a family. Because the children are so used to traveling on the bus, they aren’t nervous around strangers. Melissa feels it has made them better socialized.
Melissa plans on using part of her new gift card to purchase swim floaties for the children so that they can have fun swimming this weekend.
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