Lobsang Choephel fell in love with driving in India, where he drove cabs and spent hours shuttling tourists to and from Delhi in a large coach bus.
So when he arrived in the United States, it wasn’t a surprise that he found himself back behind the wheel.
He worked as a school bus driver and spent nearly a decade transporting passengers and equipment for Abbot Hospital. In 2006, a friend suggested applying at Metro Transit.
After three years as a bus operator, Choephel received more advice. This time, his co-workers were encouraging him to become a train operator.
Choephel wasn’t sure about the idea but decided to give it a try. The first few years were admittedly tough but, after a decade on the Blue Line, Choephel now says he’s found his calling.
“I can’t describe how much I love it,” he said recently from the Blue Line’s Operations and Maintenance Facility. “I’m addicted.”
Choephel is grateful to have found a career he enjoys. And he’s thankful to have found it in Minnesota, too.
In the late 1950s, Choephel’s family immigrated from Tibet to India, where he was raised as a Buddhist Monk. In his early 20s, Choephel found himself searching for new opportunities.
After securing an American Visa, he traveled across the globe unsure but hopeful.
In Minnesota, he connected with fellow Tibetans who helped him find work and adjust to his new life.
Nearly 30 years after landing in the Twin Cities, Choephel and his wife are raising two children and can’t imagine a better life.
“When I won the immigration lottery it was as if I won the actual lottery,” Choephel said. “That was my Powerball.”
If you like working with people and want to make a difference in your community, apply to become a Metro Transit bus operator. All Metro Transit train operators begin as bus operators. Learn more about applying at metrotransit.org/drive.