Kim Nelson | Transportation Administrative Assistant

Editor’s Note: Kim began working for ADEC two years ago as a driver. Six months into her tenure, she added Transportation Administrative Assistant to her list of duties. She continues to drive the clients twice each day.

As a Driver/Administrative Assistant for Transportation, I love my job here at ADEC and love it more everyday. Although, I have to admit it’s not always easy. Working in transportation has its ups and downs. Whether it’s plowing through snow drifts, submitting the yearly grant, trying to break up an argument between passengers while driving the bus safely, or listening to a client tell me about something exciting that happened that day. It could have been a week ago for all I know, but one thing’s for sure, he will tell me about it again and again and again… So if I didn’t catch it all the first time, no worries.

Clients on the bus are like a family. They show concern when someone is missing, compassion when they are sick, and quite often treat each other like siblings when they get mad. While, I like to keep peace on my bus, I’ve learned I don’t need to get involved in every argument. They eventually let it go and are best buds ten minutes later or the next day.

They really like to razz each other and sometimes I’m the target. I enjoy talking to the clients when I’m driving, so occasionally I go into auto pilot and make a turn in the direction of a client’s housethat isn’t on the bus that day. You can be sure someone will catch it as soon as I start turning the wrong direction and tell me, “Where are you going? She’s not on today, Ya Turkey!”

On the bus, we are always listening to music. Sometimes a client has a special request for me to play a CD they brought from home. The rest of the clients and I don’t mind a little bit of Willie Nelson, but when it comes to the Wiggles, we can only take so much. Then there is the client who wants to sing & is convinced they have a beautiful voice. It doesn’t matter if it’s pleasing to the ear or not, they are totally uninhibited to sing and I have to say, I’ve got to admire that. Although when other passengers start to complain, I have to pull the plug.

If I ever stop driving for these clients, I would sure miss the interaction I get to have with them. They say and do some of the funniest things that make my day. Like one man who rarely speaks,but every morning, with a big smile on his face, he says, “Good morning, Kim Nelson.” When an emergency vehicle goes by, he has this hearty laugh that is so contagious. It is one of the funniest
things and I can’t help but laugh too.

As a driver I get to see and talk with the families of the clients on my bus. One client’s mom told me she appreciates the good friend I’ve been to her daughter. It was sweet to hear that I was thought of as a friend and not just her bus driver. Most families are very receptive to helping if there is a problem, and I’ve learned that communicating with the families when there is, can make things go a lot smoother.

As the Administrative Assistant, my office is located at AI. At times when I’m walking through the shop, I see the faces of clients on my bus, and think to myself, I wouldn’t know anything about this person if I didn’t drive for them. This job has given me the incredible opportunity to serve the special needs population and I have realized what a really neat group of people they are. I’m so
glad to have gotten to know some of them. I truly love my job!