ROUND ROCK, Texas — It’s early on a Wednesday morning, and this Take This Job is a tough one: We’re going shopping.
"There’s so many more things that come from this van than just going to the store and back," said Tim, our driver for the day. "These folks are helping me more than I can ever help them."
"The hardest thing when you're a senior is to give up your car and wonder how you're going to get that prescription, how you're going to get out," Serita Lacasse said.
Lacasse is the executive director of Senior Access, an organization that provides free rides to more than 1,000 seniors who have no other way to get around. The group mostly serves seniors in the Round Rock area.
"So, Maria, what are we going to get today?" KVUE's Rob Evans asked the first client on the bus. "What are we going to go shopping for?"
"Oh, different things," Maria said.
Maria came over from Greece. She told KVUE about losing the love of her life more than a decade ago. He used to do the driving.
"We were 63 years together," she said with a smile.
Next up was LoDonna, an over-the-road trucker in a past life who now prefers to be driven.
"I'm 80 years old, why do I want to buy a car? And I see how they drive in Texas," she said with a laugh.
She spoke with KVUE about her grandchildren and the good deals she's found.
"I paid a quarter for it," she said of her fleece jacket – which, she added, many people have offered to buy from her.
Another client, Viola, is a music lover.
"She’ll dance to anything," Tim said.
"In the African American community, music is what sustained us," Viola said. "You know, from the time that we were brought over here as slaves, you know, our music and the drum beats and the tempo. It's, it makes you vibrant and makes you alive. It speaks to you. You know what I'm saying?"
It soon became apparent that these trips are not just about getting supplies. They're about getting something much more important. After an impossibly tough two years alone due to COVID-19, it’s time for these seniors to get out and enjoy life.
They talk about the weather, their pets – anything but politics and religion. Those topics are forbidden on the bus.
"That doesn’t mean they don’t!" Tim said.
One hour, no talk about politics, and then it’s time to shop.
"Did I leave my purse on the ground at the house?" Viola asked. "Oh, my God, this is terrible. I can’t believe I did that."
"Sometimes we forget things at home, right?" Evans asked.
"Yes, exactly," she said. "Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And I have friends that are going to get a laugh out of this. Oh, God."
All smiles because after all, it's not about the store, it’s about the trip.
Senior Access offers more than just rides. They also offer simple household repairs, light yard work and more. And they need volunteers. If you'd like to help out, Senior Access needs volunteer drivers and senior buddies who do the shopping for the clients. Learn more here.
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