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INCIDENTAL LIVES


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Driver operates TheBus with his very best effort

By Michael Tsai

POSTED:



For someone who earns his living in the driver’s seat, Scott Villarosa understands that control is a tenuous, fleeting, sometimes illusory thing.

For 13 years, Villarosa, 46, has been a city bus driver, a job that requires a Taoist ability to accept and work with the vagaries of traffic, weather and clientele.

“Some days, it just doesn’t seem worth it,” Villarosa allows. “But it’s the best thing I have going right now, and I give it the best that I have.”

For Villarosa, hard work has been a steadying force in a life of unpredictability.

Villarosa grew up in Kailua, the youngest of three children. His mother was a cafeteria manager at Kailua Intermediate. His father was an aircraft mechanic and later a vice president with Hawaiian Scenic Tours.

“They were eventually bought out,” Villarosa says of the tour bus company. “The new owners said they were going to keep everyone, but once the deal was done, they got rid of everybody.”

For Villarosa the incident, and his father’s reaction, was instructive.

“There are a lot of things you can’t control,” he says. “You just keep going and do what you can do.”

After graduating from Kailua High School, Villarosa worked a few entry-level jobs, eventually doing refrigeration work for Servco Pacific. He held the job for 12 years before his department was eliminated.

Villarosa, then with a young daughter, struggled to find work in a down economy. When he was finally hired by TheBus, he vowed to do whatever it might take to succeed.

Driving a bus is not easy, he says.

“It’s more demanding that it looks,” he says. “People think you’re just sitting around all day, but we’re constantly working against time. At the same time, you always have to be aware of what’s going on inside and outside the bus.”

Despite the pressures, Villarosa remains upbeat, helping lost tourists, welcoming his many senior riders and diffusing tense situations with empathy and a smile.

“The job can get to people, and sometimes drivers can be rude,” he says. “But I always think about the passengers. Sometimes at night I get people who take the bus because they have nowhere else to go, no one to talk to. … For a lot of people, it’s the only transportation they have.”

Villarosa wishes he had more control over his schedule, more time to ride his “local boy-style” custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle or hang out with his three grandchildren. Such, he says, is the life of the working man.

“I just keep it real,” he says. “It’s all I can do.”

____

Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@staradvertiser.com.






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cojef wrote:
A human interest article of real understanding individual. Kudos to a good citizen. Need more people like him who cares for others. It is a rare commodity in this hectic world with much indifference and malice.
on October 12,2012 | 10:23AM
droid wrote:
People don’t know what these drivers go through. Sports cars and motorcycles are always cutting them off. Unruly passengers raise a ruckus and disturb the passengers — sometimes to the point of a police incident. All the while, the clock is ticking on their tight schedule which is strict enough that many drivers are forced to skip lunch to get back on track. Yet even if they are late, they will still stop for Tutu, who’s in a wheelchair, and will require special seat-belts to strapped in securely. Sure some drivers can be a bit arrogant, but these guys earn every penny of their pay.
on October 12,2012 | 12:11PM
808chubs wrote:
Too bad he doesnt work on the Big Island for Hele On bus, We have the worst bus system in the state Rude drivers(?), Hele On wins the prize...Tom is a rude, bully. His cohort Kim, she is just as bad. You can complain and Robert's Hawaii who has the contract for Hele On just blows it off. He continues his rudeness and she is riding on board along side him.
on October 12,2012 | 05:22PM
autumnrose wrote:
I've met a lot of impressive, caring bus drivers. They know it's not just about driving... it's caring about helping people get where they want to go.
on October 12,2012 | 07:19PM
Yukio wrote:
Good story about what people do in their everyday lives. There are some excellent city bus drivers who are friendly and helpful, and I don't think their jobs are easy. In addition to what was mentioned in the article, I would think that sitting for long periods of time day after day with limited bathroom breaks and having to stay on a tight schedule would create physical hardships (back pain, cramps, etc.) Good read stories about non-famous people who work hard and keep our society functioning.
on October 13,2012 | 06:19AM
Kaluu wrote:
Oahu bus drivers do a great job. I really admire most of the ones I've observed doing their work.
on October 14,2012 | 10:45AM
PMINZ wrote:
I ride the bus feeling that I am safe and in very capable hands, A big Mahalo to all of the bus Drivers and other support personnel I am a non driving senior citizen and rely on this important service.
on October 18,2012 | 01:38PM
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