Omar Gomez-Mulero has been in the driver’s seat for the past 14 years. Originally from Puerto Rico, Gomez-Mulero was raised in New York before moving to the Midwest. He works for Affordable Limousine in Grand Rapids, after leaving behind a job with Interurban Transit Partnership (ITP). ITP operates a public transit system called The Rapid, which provides bus service to the Greater Grand Rapids area.
“For three years, I’ve worked very closely with Affordable Limousine helping to develop the training department. I am now the safety and training manager at Affordable Limousine,” he said. “With the help of Affordable Limousine, I am a certified instructor through the National Safety Council. I am also an instructor through Transit Systems Inc. (TSI) for transit.
Bus & Motorcoach News caught up with Gomez-Mulero to talk to him about why he loves driving a motorcoach, his career highs and lows, and his passion for the business.
What’s the biggest tip you received and the story behind it?
The biggest tip I’ve received in one day was $727. This was for a corporate outing to a Detroit Tigers game. I helped as best as I could with all the coolers, making sure all of my passengers were safe. We took all of the appropriate steps to accommodate some elderly people on our bus, and we arrived on time. The original tip was $400 but the company liked the service so much they gave me an additional $327.
What is the strangest or most bizarre group you’ve driven?
I believe that every trip is unique in its own way. I have had many different experiences, but the more you work, the more you will notice that every trip has lots of similarities. People getting married, going out for dates, birthday parties, bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, corporate events, etc. I have not had any bizarre trips.
What’s your go-to phrase?
Let’s have fun!
How did you become a driver?
When I was in New York, I was a sales manager for a third-party cellphone store. I decided that I did not want to raise my family in New York anymore, so we moved to Michigan. When we arrived, I worked at the factory for one year. The supervisor and I did not see eye to eye, so she fired me. A month later, I had applied to the city transportation system for Grand Rapids. I got hired and, from there, I developed a love for driving.
What were your previous careers?
Cellphone sales, factory worker, then city transportation driver through The Rapid.
How many miles or states have you driven on a bus?
I have lost count of how many miles I’ve driven, and I have driven through several states
What’s your favorite and or least favorite destination?
My favorite destination is Traverse City, Michigan in the fall. It is a beautiful ride and it’s peaceful. My least favorite destination is any of the major cities. I don’t like the traffic congestion.
What’s your favorite bus feature?
My favorite bus feature on a motorcoach is the tag axle. This allows for more tailored turns.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received?
I drove for an owner of Little Caesar’s franchises. He told me that he absolutely admired my attention to detail, and then he offered me a job managing two locations. I turned the offer down because I love what I do.
What’s the funniest travel story?
I drove for a wedding party. The couple got married in a cornfield, and everyone was dressed in overalls. It was a really good time. Everybody was having a fun time.
What’s your best piece of advice for a newbie?
Listen to your instructor. There’s a reason why he/she is your instructor. You will make mistakes. Please learn from those mistakes and move on and create good memories.
What’s your career highlight?
Becoming a safety and training manager for Affordable Limousine.
What questions should we have asked — and what’s your answer?
Q: Do you love your job?
A: It is not a job if you have a love for it; it is more of a passion. A job is for a person that does not love what they are doing for a living.
Read more From the driver’s seat columns.
If you are a motorcoach driver and would like to be featured in From the Driver’s Seat, contact Shandra Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org.