The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A Day in the Life: The Safety Shuttle Driver

Some things at Richmond get old fast. After four years, a Westhampton woman may feel she is no longer patient enough for bathroom lines, has exhausted the options at The Pier and become too sober for the lodges.

But don't worry ladies ... there are some things that never lose that freshman charm. Wayne is one of them.

For six years Wayne has been rumbling around campus, stopping at stop signs, slowing down over speed bumps and "pickin' up two at X-Lot."

Rain or shine, weekends or weeknights, apartment or lodges, Wayne has gotten us there faster and drier than our male accomplices.

"There are three drivers who run the shuttle seven nights a week to keep the University of Richmond women safe," he said.

Wayne, a former Richmond city policeman, said he preferred to work on the weekends since there was more excitement to keep him busy. He said he had had to drive non-stop for six hours on several Friday and Saturday nights and that occasionally Thursdays been equally as busy.

"Sometimes I feel like y'all have an extra day of the weekend," he said.

When he was busy getting girls where they had to be, he said he usually tuned the radio to oldies on 107.3 FM or country on 95.3 FM.

"I try and pick the stations that the girls like to hear," he said.

His favorite is the Bill Haley classic, "Rock Around the Clock."

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Wayne keeps a record of the passengers he transports in a thin spiral notebook on the dashboard, and he estimated that on a weekend night he picked up between 50 and 70 calls.

"I don't have to," he said, "but I just like to keep track."

Another fun fact that Wayne has in his notes is the name (Jessie Lustig) of the first passenger to ride the new, 2008-edition shuttle. Wayne said, this year the administration had bought a new Chevy since the previous one had lasted since 1987.

On nights when he is not as busy and has some time between calls Wayne said he stopped and got a snack at the vending machine, usually a diet coke and peanut butter crackers, or had sometimes brought along white bread to to feed the ducks.

Over the years, Wayne said he had gotten to know a lot of his passengers and was sad to see a group of girls that he had known since freshman year graduate last year. Last Spring, they nominated him for a "Toast Your Professor" award to thank him and he has it framed with their names.

"It makes it all worthwhile when you get something like that," he said. "I'm not gonna quit anytime soon, what happens is I meet the freshmen, and I get to know them, and then I have to stay until they're seniors."

So ladies, the next time you are faced with a trek across campus in patent stilettos or are dreading the 2 a.m. walk back from Boatwright in the rain, remember Wayne. Grilled chicken wraps get soggy and toilet paper runs out, but Wayne will always always pick you up. 804.287.6868

Contact staff writer Emily Viviani at emily.viviani@richmond.edu

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