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Via rider finds community

I felt there’s a little community on this bus that I needed to explore.

PHOTOGRAPHER: RACHEL GOMEZ

At age 68, Kati had a pulmonary embolism, an event that changed her life in a moment’s time. Unable to drive or even walk to a bus stop any longer, Kati says I felt my life was over. The hospital referred her to an organization now known as Via. I couldn’t bear asking for help, but I had no choice. How was she to get to doctor or physical therapy appointments or get food to feed herself?

I had such strong resistance to being helped and when I got on that Via bus, I would sit in the back feeling sorry for myself. One day, there was another woman riding the bus going to her church choir, who asked if she might practice her song.

While the woman sang, some kind of shift took place in me because I experienced thoughtfulness, kindness, and respect. Kati moved from the back of the bus to the front. I felt there’s a little community on this bus that I needed to explore.

Kati rode with Via for over 20 years. I needed help from Via and I got it, but I’ve still felt independent. Every single person at Via cares about my well-being she says. I feel safe. I feel cared for. And I couldn’t live the life I live without Via.