“I came to Akron a few days after turning 18 to attend The University of Akron. I lived on campus and took METRO RTA to Chapel Hill to shop at Twin Value, way before the BestBuy and Target that now inhabits the area. In the later years, I rode the bus to the hill on Montrose to work at East Side Marios as a pizza chef. Without METRO RTA, I would not have been able to survive in Akron during a time when I did not have a car. I appreciate METRO RTA and all the services that it offers.”
“The goal of Around Akron with Blue Green is to inform, educate, entertain, and inspire people in Akron and Northeast Ohio. I spotlight businesses, people, history, and exciting things going on in and around Akron.
“With a lack of broadcast TV in Akron, I wanted people to see Akronites spotlighted on their televisions. I think it’s essential to a city’s identity to be represented on broadcast TV and news. Akron does not have an affiliate network station, but we have PBS Western Reserve, and they reach over 5.1 million homes in Northeast Ohio through broadcast, cable, and satellite TV. In Akron, children growing up need to see positive stories about their community; this instills pride and civic responsibility in the citizens of Akron.”
When you live and work on one of the busiest bus routes, it makes sense to ride public transit – and that’s exactly what Melissa does. A regular rider, Melissa has befriended several METRO bus operators on her travels to and from her job at Starbucks, which is why they’ve been so prominent in her mind during the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa said the bus operators’ kindness is her favorite part of riding, and is grateful for the service they provide.
“I wanted to show them appreciation for everything they do, especially now,” she said.
So, with the help of her team at Starbucks, Melissa coordinated a coffee delivery to thank METRO employees.
METRO thanks Melissa and the staff at the West Market Starbucks for the delicious, freshly brewed coffee! It was a treat enjoyed by all.
“I’m an artist. I focus on portraits using colored pencils, pastels, paintings, and water paints. I got into art when I was 4 years old and taught myself how to draw. I never took any classes. Over the years, I focus more on details and my drawings get better.
“I’ve been riding METRO my whole life. I take it everywhere — to the grocery store, the library, to my mother’s house, and back home.”
“I’m from Huntington, West Virginia. I came to Akron in 1977 — my job brought me here. I was employed by Consolidated Freightways as a supervisor. Then I moved on to Pacific Intermountain Express. I was a company buyer there for about six years. I have a degree in transportation, so that’s what steered me in that direction. I’m also a former highway patrolman. I lived in Columbus and worked out of Delaware. I was a cop in Huntington City. I’ve done a little bit of everything.
“The important thing about being a Downtown Akron Partnership Ambassador is keeping the downtown area clean. I’ve been in a lot of places driving charter buses and semis, and you know the first impression is the lasting one. It looks better when you have clean streets. Trash stands out.
“Another important part of being an ambassador is you meet a lot of people: nice people, interesting people. Making the right impression when people approach you for directions or information makes a big difference. You can tell when you see someone on Main St. looking around — every building isn’t labeled with an address. So you approach them first and it takes the stress off of them. They appreciate it.
“Because I work from Sunday through Tuesday, I go and pick up any trash around the METRO terminal (Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center). When I come in on Sunday, that’s my first stop of the day. Doing both sides of the terminal and anything on the grass, and it makes it look better for Monday. Next month, I’ll pressure wash the platform on the Broadway side.
“I’m just a normal dude, retired and needed something to do, so I came downtown. Darrell (another ambassador) brought me on. He said, ‘I know you can work, because I’ve seen you around all the time.’ And it’s turned out to be a pretty good deal because the work is not hard, and you get to meet people. And that’s the idea: helping people go on their way and through their day without any difficulty. If you can relieve some of the stress with directions and what have you, it’s pretty cool.”