Jennifer Guerrero, the winner of our sbX Anniversary Sweepstakes, has been riding Omnitrans since 9th grade. She and her two younger sisters used to rely on their dad to drive them everywhere. About three years ago he was diagnosed as permanently blind. Since then, their little family has taken the bus wherever they needed to go. Having a bus stop just down the street from them makes it very convenient, and they use NexTrip so they know exactly how much time they have before the bus arrives.
Jennifer is a Route 8 regular, and coach operator Peter Borrero, who drives the first run of the day, is one of her favorites. She likes the fact that he talks and jokes with his passengers.
“It feels nice because it’s such a great way to start your morning,” Jennifer says. “Especially if it’s 5 a.m. and you’re feeling grumpy. The bus drivers are always there, smiling and saying good morning. Sometimes they’ll even say things like ‘I didn’t see you the other day’ or ‘I noticed you were gone.’”
“That totally helps, because sometimes you can’t tell if people notice whether you’re here or not. It’s like you matter. It’s cool. You know the routes and the drivers and they know you. They’ll say ‘Oh, you got Starbucks today! Where’s mine?’” Jennifer laughs.
She also likes the fact that they look after her father. “He feels really comfortable using the bus and is pretty happy about it. The drivers always take care to pull down the ramp for him. Then they wait for him to get into the seat before driving off because they can tell he’ll be scared of the sudden motion. They talk and joke with him just like they do with me so he feels relaxed.”
Her sisters are a high school freshman and junior, and she is helping them learn how to get around. She shares her travel trips for first time riders.
“I would tell someone to get a bus book for sure. And don’t be afraid to ask the bus drivers questions, because they can be really helpful in telling you where you need to get off. The other riders can help too. They’re really nice. You might be asking the bus driver a question, and one of the passengers will say ‘I know where that is! Get off at the next stop and that will make it easier for you to cross the street.’ It’s cool, total strangers helping each other out like that.”
Jennifer is a big fan of sbX. When she can, she likes to take rapid transit line for longer trips because it’s so fast.
“My sisters and I like to sit in the middle so we spin,” she grins. “We try to sit there all the time. We also love the free WiFi. I use it all the time—and, of course, the power outlets. I wish there were outlets on all the buses.”
Jennifer graduates from high school this month and plans to attend Crafton Hills College in the fall. The Omnitrans Go Smart program played a big factor in deciding what college she wanted to attend.
“I originally thought about going to Fullerton Community College,” she explains. “But if I stay here, I’m already familiar with the bus and know my way around. Besides, with the Go Smart program I can ride the bus free with my student ID. Every little bit helps. My boyfriend is also going to school at Crafton, so that played a factor too.”
Jennifer plans to pursue a degree in sign language translation with a double major in math and liberal arts. Her goal is to become a math teacher.
“I want to teach high schoolers because I think it would be more fun, and that they would get my sense of humor. I’m that person who goes all out on Pajama Day or Polka Dot Day.” She laughs.
In the meantime, Jennifer is getting some hands on experience through community service work.
“I’m still friends with my 4th grade teacher, so I sometimes come in to help her out,” she says. “I offer to help the other teachers as well. Sometimes it can be hard for the teachers to keep up with all the work they have to do. So I come in and help them grade papers, put up and tear down stuff. I like doing it, and it gives me some experience.”
Helping others has always been important to Jennifer. She already has plans on how she will share her Grand Prize winnings which includes twelve 31-day bus passes, four Inland Empire 66ers baseball tickets, four movie passes and a $100 restaurant gift card.
“My dad is a huge baseball fan, so my sisters and I will take him to a 66ers game for Father’s Day. Even though he’s blind, he can still hear the announcer, and we have fun telling him what’s happening on the field. I’m going to take my boyfriend out for a movie and dinner and then take my sisters to a movie and dinner. Everybody wins!”
– Juno Kughler Carlson