By Claire Crittendon & Kyla Dodge-Goshea – Editor-in-chief & 1851 Staff
Whether you’re getting on at Riverside after a day spent in Boston or you’re catching a ride to the Natick mall on the weekend, it’s fair to say most all members of the Lasell community have hopped on the shuttle at least once.
But, when was the last time you slowed down enough to have a good conversation with any of the shuttle drivers?
We had a chance to sit down and talk with morning shuttle driver Pierre Verand, and we guarantee you’d enjoy doing the same.
“I’m happy to help anyone when I’m driving,” said Verand. “Sometimes kids are late so I always give the [students] like two or three extra minutes [to get on.]”
Aside from driving for VPNE, Verand is a dedicated father to his four daughters. His oldest daughter is studying at Roger Williams. Talking about her, he said, “They are kids, you know? If she says, ‘I want to be a lawyer’ and you say, ‘no, I want you to be a doctor,’ she will fail. You will mess up her life. Don’t push her, let her go. Say you want it, you got it and congratulations.”
When asked how COVID-19 has affected him, Verand said, “I like to smile when I see people but the masks make it difficult.” He goes on to explain, “This pandemic is not okay because when you go home, your mom, dad, anyone you see you have to take a shower, even your husband or wife. COVID-19 destroys your life.”
When asked about what keeps him motivated, especially in these times he said, “God keeps me motivated. I feel happy because everywhere I go I can help someone to do something, that is my motivation.”
Varand mentioned his wife of 22 years who currently resides in Paris, until he can get her a flight back, with his three other children. He says, “we need someone forever, until our last breath. Love is special. Love from God, ya know what I mean? God is love.”
Lasell outsources its shuttle drivers from VPNE Parking Solutions, and like all else around campus, the shuttle services have been modified to be as COVID-19 safe as possible with capacity maxed out at seven passengers.
According to Lasell’s website, VPNE has “purchased electrostatic sprayers … with a botanical solution that kills all viruses. This is the same unit that the MBTA uses.” These sprayers, in combination with the drivers wiping down high-touch surfaces and adjusted capacity, are all new initiatives instituted with everyone’s safety in mind.
“Lasell is doing good with the tests so that we can trust each other,” said Verand. “I like it here because everyone respects each other.”
On October 29, the parking office announced via email that the shuttle route will now include a stop at the West Newton CVS. In addition to this CVS, the shuttle’s off-campus stops include Riverside MBTA station, Star Market, the Natick mall, and Market Basket.