Tag Archives: omnitrans drivers

Coach Operators’ Story An Inspiration to Others

Back in February we did a story on Omnitrans coach operators Larry and Marianne Rose who have been married for more than 16 years. The post was later picked up by The Press-Enterprise and published on Valentine’s Day.

In response to the article, the Roses received a letter from Senator Bill Emmerson, congratulating them on their service with Omnitrans and their love and devotion to each other through so many years of marriage.

“We were very surprised to receive the letter,” said Marianne. “It felt amazing to be recognized in that way. Our little story has reached so many people and the feedback has been incredible.”

In the article, the Roses had talked about Marianne’s battle with uterine cancer and how she was paying it forward by talking with other cancer patients at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

“My doctor saw the article and started sharing it with his other cancer patients. I told him I’d be happy to talk to anyone who might want support from someone who had been through the process,” said Marianne. “That’s been the best part of this for me–being able to help make a difference to others. I’ve even had passengers come up to me and tell me about their own battles with cancer. I’m glad to be able to be there for them.”

Marianne wanted us to assure everyone that the PET scan she had to undergo on Valentine’s day came back fine and that she is doing well. “It’s all because of Him,” she smiled, pointing upward. “And I feel very lucky to be able to keep paying it forward by helping others.”

- Juno Kughler Carlson

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Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans is my limousine

Sondra, 1st prize winner in the Omnitrans Valentine's Day photo contest

RIDER PROFILE:  Sondra is a 50-year old single military mom whose son is a Marine recruiter and Iraqi veteran. A new grandma-to-be, she is eagerly looking forward to the birth of her first grandchild in April. She volunteers as a ticket usher at the Lewis Family Playhouse in Victoria Gardens. She is also a volunteer at the Abundant Living Family Church in Rancho Cucamonga, where she is involved in a ministry group focused on gang prevention. It is a cause she feels passionate about. “We try to get these kids to open their hearts, stop killing people and doing drugs. We help find them jobs and resources.”

Sondra used to be a preschool teacher before her disabilities brought her career to an end. She suffers from vertigo and dementia, has arthritis throughout her body and nerve damage in one leg.

“I have good days and bad days,” laughs Sondra. “Every once in a while I walk like the Bride of Frankenstein, but most of the time people wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with me. There are a lot of people like me who have hidden disabilities and are embarrassed by them. It can be very humiliating. Sometimes you need special accommodations or extra help with something and people don’t understand why because your disability isn’t obvious.”

Sondra has been riding the bus since 1978. At first it was just occasionally, when her car would break down. Now she rides because she enjoys it. She takes about 5 different buses a day and jokingly refers to Omnitrans as her “limousine.”

“Every morning I wonder who I’m going to meet that day,” she says. “I have this mom energy that makes people want to talk to me, so I get to meet a lot of different people on the bus. Sometimes it’s a homeless girl. Sometimes it’s a family or someone on their way to work. I try to have a smile and a kind word for everyone. Little things like that can mean the world to a person.”

Sondra knows this firsthand. Her favorite drivers, Doris and Albert always give her a smile and wave whenever they drive by her on the street. “They really make you feel special. They have compassion for people, love their jobs and always have a smile for you. When your driver waves at you and you’re not even getting on the bus, it means so much. You will always go back to Omni because of that. You can always find other rides, but those drivers are the ones that keep bringing you back.”

When asked what her life would be like without public transit, Sondra is emotional. “I worry about that sometimes. If Omni wasn’t around, I’d miss it like crazy. I would feel like I lost a best friend. The good drivers make me feel loved and give me the strength to go on when I’m having a bad day. They are like family to me.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans Sweethearts: Marianne & Larry

What’s the secret to a great marriage? “Don’t pay attention to each other and have a lot of patience,” advises Larry. The couple laughs.

“And always stay friends and have a good sense of humor!” adds Marianne. “We have these three words we always say to each other: ‘No matter what.’ Sometimes we say it with a smile and sometimes with a grimace, but we really mean it. We each married our best friend.”

These two Omnitrans coach operators have been married for more than 16 years. Larry has been a driver here for 15 years and Marianne for 7. They feel that working for the same company helps them to to understand each other better because they each know firsthand what it takes to do their jobs every day. Both Marianne and Larry Rose agree that Omnitrans is the best place they’ve ever worked. “Because of the size of the company, you have the chance to really get to know people,” says Larry. “We’re like a big family.”

“It’s true,” nods Marianne. “We’ve gone through a lot of challenges in our personal lives, and Omnitrans has always been very supportive of us. I’m so grateful for that.”

In 2009 Marianne was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  She went through 5 weeks of external radiation treatments followed by 42 hours of internal radiation and 5 months of chemotherapy. “At one point they implanted these radioactive rods in me under anesthia, and I had to lie on my back completely still in the hospital for three days,” said Marianne. “I was literally radioactive! There was a Geiger counter in the room measuring the levels. I could only have visitors for 10 mintutes at a time and they had to stay outside the door.”

Throughout it all, Larry worked his route at Omnitrans, took care of their autistic son, Jonathan, and looked after Marianne.  ”I would be so down some days, and Larry would make me laugh and tell me that we’d get through this. He was my rock. I really believe God put angels in our lives to look after us, and we have had so much support from our work and from the people around us. We may not always get what we want, but we do always get what we need.”

Marianne is now paying it forward by talking to other cancer patients at Loma Linda Medical Center. On Valentine’s Day, she will be going in for a PET scan. Afterwards the couple hopes to enjoy a steak dinner together at home.

“Just having the gift of time together is the best Valentine’s Day present we could ask for,” said Marianne.

–Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org