“My car was my friend. I bought my first car when I got divorced, and it represented my being in the world,” recalls Kati Pressman, 88, a Via client and former board member.
Kati, 88, grew up in Chicago; her family did not own a car and used streetcars to get around. Although she learned to drive while in nursing school, once she married, her husband did most of the driving. Kati’s first car was one she had to “talk to” to keep running. From that point on, she loved cars.
As a nurse, Kati cared for injured, frail and sick people but never thought about how they got around once they left the hospital. She became acutely aware of the issue following a pulmonary embolism at the age of 68. In time, she recovered and learned to walk again. Her driving days, however, were over.
“The loss of the ability to drive was a truly humbling event. I could not go where I wanted to go. I felt as if my life was contracting; just the opposite of what my car represented. How could I expand? My whole life changed because of not being able to drive,” Kati said.
Though it was a viable option, Kati was not a fan of using Via’s paratransit service. She did not want to be seen as needy or to be identified with the other riders. For the first several months, Kati talked to no one on the bus.
Eventually the kindness of everyone―drivers, riders, schedulers―made her want to be a part of the Via “family.”
“The people on the bus are my friends now. They make the day a little brighter and have opened up a whole new world for me about kindness, compassion, patience, and the uniqueness of each person,” Kati said. “It is a joy to step on the bus every time.”
Is Via’s paratransit service right for you or someone you know? Learn more by clicking here. You can also talk to a Via mobility specialist by calling 303.447.2848 ext. 1014 or ask a question by email.