Foothill Transit bus driver, Arturo Ramirez, stands for a portrait at the bus yard in Pomona, CA after his shift.

Arturo Ramírez

The Bus Driver

Art never planned to become a bus driver. But, one day, frustrated in his search for a new machinist job, he climbed a Foothill Transit bus on his way home. The driver noticed his frustration and asked him what was wrong, ultimately suggesting that he become a bus driver, too. “I put it in the back of my mind, but I kept hitting roadblocks in getting a machinist job, and something told me: ‘You know what? Get it over with, go sign up the application, you won’t get it but at least you tried it.’” It’s been 16 years since Art started driving a bus. His day-to-day can be difficult: “You’ve got 40 different personalities that come on the bus and not all of them are smiley or happy. Some are angry, or upset, or germaphobic, or just not getting along —it’s never the same,” he says. But before he starts each shift, Art will sit in the driver seat during his layover, inside an empty bus. He takes that time to relax, and to remind himself of the passengers who make him happy. Like the little boy who wanted to ride with his grandmother as she sang him “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.” “Because all the headache and everything I go through in a day is worth it just to see that little boy waving to me,” he says.