The day a hurricane struck Puerto Rico in 2017, Darren Rodriguez's mother advised him to stay home. Instead, he reported to his job at a nursing home so he could help protect and care for more than 30 elderly individuals.
“It’s a miracle that I’m here today,” Rodriguez said as he reflected on the experience. “The roof flew off the building and rooms were collapsing.”
In the aftermath of the storm, Rodriguez was left without a job. To find work, he and his family relocated to Minnesota.
Shortly after arriving, his father, Angel Rodriguez, became a Metro Transit bus operator. It wasn’t long after that Darren Rodriguez became one, too.
“My dad told me right away that I should get my Commercial Driver’s License like him,” Darren Rodriguez said. “I didn’t do it right away because I thought my time here was temporary.”
About six months into his new job, Darren Rodriguez has a proud father and a bright outlook. “People think this job is hard, but I think it’s fun," he said. "I don’t think of it as work."
His goal is to someday retire with more than 30 years of service, when he'll be eligible to join Metro Transit's Wall of Fame and have a vehicle commemorated in his honor (commemorative plaques are placed just above the windshield).
“One day I’ll have my name on a bus,” Darren Rodriguez said. “I plan on making my career here.”
Operator at a Glance
- Hired: August 2019
- Garage: Martin J. Ruter
- Routes: Mostly weekday express service
- Lives: Richfield
- Hobbies: Fishing, reading and gardening.
- Family: Married just over a year. Father, mother, two brothers and an aunt.