Tag Archives: 1960’s coach operator

Sales Supervisor solves lost wallet mystery, returning $314 to Omni rider

Herman Reed and Diane Bojorquez

Herman Reed and Diane Bojorquez

We love a happy ending—especially when we have a hand in making it happen!

On September 4, 2015, Omnitrans Coach Operator Jesse Lakes found a man’s wallet at the Fontana Metrolink station with $314 in cash inside. Concerned for the owner, the conscientious driver tagged it and turned it into our Lost and Found department.

A card in the wallet identified the owner as Fontana resident Herman Reed. Sales Supervisor Diane Bojorquez made several attempts to reach Herman with no luck. His phone was disconnected, and a letter sent to his address was returned as undeliverable. She even approached me for help in tracking him down on social media. We managed to find his Facebook profile and messaged him, but still there was no response.

Normally Omnitrans only holds lost items for 10 days but, because of the amount of money involved, Diane decided to hang onto it. For five months, the wallet sat in the lost and found safe.

“I don’t know what it was about this wallet,” Diane said later. “I had to keep trying. It was a lot of money for anyone to lose, and I just wasn’t ready to give up.”

On Thursday, Diane was closing out old lost and found items, and once again came across the brown leather wallet.

“Remember this?” she asked me sadly. “It’s Herman Reed’s wallet with the $314. We never got a response back from him.”

Reed2

“Maybe there’s something we missed the first time?” I suggested.

Flipping through the wallet, I pulled out a health insurance card. “I wonder if we contacted his healthcare provider if they would be willing to pass a message on to him?”

She grinned, “Hey, it couldn’t hurt.”

After a quick conversation with a helpful health care representative, Diane received a call back from a very surprised Herman Reed, who immediately made arrangements to come by the office.

When we met in in the lobby later that morning, Herman couldn’t stop smiling. He ran over and gave Diane a huge hug thanking her over and over again for not giving up on him. The two laughed like old friends.

“We try to do everything we can to get lost items back to the owners,” she told him. “But this was a challenge.”

“I’d given up on ever getting it back,” he told her. “That was my rent money in the wallet. And here’s another strange thing. After I lost my wallet, I switched to a cheaper phone plan and had my old cell phone turned off.

“Just a few days ago, the phone suddenly came on again for some reason. I have no idea why. I wasn’t paying for it.”

“That was the number they called you on?” asked Diane.

“Yes!” Herman said. “I couldn’t believe it! It was such a blessing. In fact, I had been going to take it in to the store earlier this week to make sure they deactivated again, but something made me decide to wait until the weekend. Somebody must have been watching over me.”

He laughed and gave us both another hug. “You two are my favorites! I love Omnitrans! You don’t know what this means to me.”

Watching Herman walk out the door with a big smile on his face made our day.

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Day in the life of a 1960’s coach operator

RichardBreeden2

Marketing & Planning Director Wendy Williams received a lovely Christmas card letter from retired Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Richard Breeden. She thought it might be fun to share this little piece of history.

“We were going through a lot of pictures and came across this one. I thought you would like to see it; it looks like the Omnitrans vintage bus, Old Blue. It was taken in 1959 or 1960 before the City of San Bernardino purchased the bus company from San Bernardino Valley Transit in 1961.

The bus is a 1947 GMC, 40 feet, no air conditioning, no power steering, 4-speed standard transmission, recycling fare box (like the one in Old Blue); we had to take the money out of the fare box while driving, and put it in a changer to make change.

The route I was on at the time was Route 3. The route went from downtown San Bernardino to 1st and Vermont in Muscoy, back downtown, then to 42nd and Kendall, and back downtown. It was 136 turns end to end (round trip), shifting gears, making changes, and selling tickets. For a 9-hour day, that was “The Good Old Days,” a day in the life of a coach operator in the 60’s.”

Richard Breeden