Lives of the Drivers

These campus heroes might be closer than you think.

Illustrator: Peyton Garcia

It’s Monday morning, and you have an 8 a.m. on West Bank. We all know the feeling of begrudgingly rolling out of bed and beginning a full day of class. But there is something we often forget to acknowledge when we step on the Campus Connector at an unreasonably early hour: our bus drivers.

Here at the U, we are fortunate to have an efficient bus system that takes us from campus to campus.

I decided to interview a few of the heroes behind the wheel, and they were more than willing to answer questions about their profession and lives beyond driving.

Frank Holbert, who lives in Minneapolis, said that students in Minnesota are overall courteous and respectful toward drivers. He added that students should be more vigilant and aware of their surroundings. In other words, put down your phone.

One driver, nicknamed “Catfish,” warmly waved at a fellow bus driver upon passing. He also emphasized the polite manners students have. His favorite movie is “Devil in a Blue Dress,” starring Denzel Washington.

David Ortiz, a second-year driver, said his favorite part of driving on campus is meeting new people. Ortiz drives the Campus Connector during the semester, but on breaks he is a world traveler. With 26 countries under his belt, he will be traveling to the Baltic States this November.

Ortiz’s advice for students is to not rush, but have patience when it comes to both school and life.

Next time you hop on the connector for that pesky 8 a.m., make sure to greet your driver. These people work hard to make our lives just a bit easier. To all of the campus bus drivers, thank you for what you do. You brighten our days one pilgrimage to St. Paul at a time.