Coach Operator pays it forward

Benito and his daughter, Dahlia

Before he joined Omnitrans 9 months ago, Coach Operator Benito Zavalza was out of work, knocking on doors, offering to do odd jobs for people so he could support his wife and little girl. He put no price on his help. Instead he asked them to pay him whatever they felt his services were worth.

“I appreciated every single opportunity I was given and it made me a much better person,” said the quiet 24-year-old. “I learned so much along the way. There was one  lady in particular who really motivated me and made me think. When she answered her door and heard what I had to say, she was furious with me. ‘I’m fighting cancer! Why can’t you fight your crisis?’ she yelled and then slammed the door in my face.”

”She totally opened my eyes,” said Benito. “This was someone who was battling for her life! It put my own struggle in perspective. I thought wow—she’s right. I can’t give up hope. I need to ask God to show me the right path and tell me which direction I should follow. The right opportunity will come if I just keep going.”

Although his wife had to work and was unable to attend, Benito’s father-in-law, sister-in-law and mother-in-law were able to bring his daughter Dahlia to see him receive his award.

“Every person I talked to brought another lesson. I met another lady who is very active in her community and likes to keep up on local politics and events. For some reason, she saw something in me and decided to give me a chance. At first I helped her by cleaning up after the neighbor’s cats that would poop on her grass. She loved birds and would also have me clean windows and bird feeders. Eventually I earned her trust and went on to help her with odd jobs inside her home as well. It felt good. She reminded me that part of the joy in achieving something is being able to reach out and help others move up.”

From left to right: Operations Manager Diane Caldera, Board Chair Alan Wapner, Benito Zavalza and Interim CEO Scott Graham

Today Benito pays his experiences forward, serving others as an Omnitrans coach operator. He has received numerous commendations for his friendliness, professionalism, heroism and customer service. This month, he was honored with the Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter award, an accomplishment of which he is very proud. His  3-year-old daughter was there to cheer on her Poppy. “Everything I do is for her, to make her life better,” Benito smiles.

Benito’s goal is to eventually become either a field supervisor or trainer, where he can continue to make a difference and help others on their path to success.

“This is not work to me,” he says smiling. “I love what I do. And if you love what you do you will never work another day in your life.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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One response to “Coach Operator pays it forward

  1. Benito is an outstanding employee with great customer service skills, he is humble and thankful for opportunities that he has been given and I admire his work ethic. Some people truly appreciate and take advantage of what they are offered, the sky is the limit for Benito.

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