Claudia Mendez applauded for compassion and customer service
A Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) coach operator is being praised for helping a young mother who was having a seizure at a bus stop and caring for her daughter until help arrived — an event that shows bus drivers do great work even when they are not behind the wheel.
Early morning on November 13, Claudia Mendez was driving her Route 27 bus along Highway 74 near Hemet. As she approached what she thought was a vacant stop, she noticed a woman on the ground having a seizure. Next to the woman was a toddler who was in danger of wandering onto the busy road.
“It was a very dangerous situation,” Claudia said. “The child was two or three years old and she looked scared. I just didn’t want to leave that child unattended and near that road.”
Without hesitation, Claudia stopped her bus, exited the front doors and rushed to the scene. After assisting the woman, Claudia brought the little girl onto the bus and called dispatch to request an ambulance. Later, when paramedics arrived and the child was safely reunited with her mother, Claudia went back to being a bus driver and continued on her route.
“Once paramedics showed up and did their part I felt a whole lot better,” Claudia said. “I just went back to work.”
Claudia’s courageous actions didn’t go unnoticed. Next month, RTA’s Board of Directors will present Claudia with a hero award for her actions that day.
RTA Chairman Art Welch applauded Claudia for a job well done, adding that the incident tested her training, vigilance and attention to detail.
“Claudia’s heroic actions represent an extraordinary commitment to customer service, amazing courage, and uncompromising compassion to help those in need,” Welch said. “This was a team effort that had a very happy ending.”
Such actions aren’t unusual for RTA bus drivers. In fact, drivers do much more than just move people from place to place. Sometimes they help police find and assist people in need. Sometimes those people are senior citizens with dementia. Sometimes they are teenage runaways. Often, drivers like Claudia are guardians on the streets, helping people in need in a spectrum of different ways.
Claudia doesn’t think of herself as a hero.
“This isn’t about being a hero,” she said. “It’s all about caring for other people and being kind to others, even if they are complete strangers. I was just happy to be in the right place at the right time.”
RIVERSIDE, CA — November 28, 2018