Riding Cherriots is a breeze for Summer Reyes
With a first name like hers, it begs the question: What is the story behind it?
“My parents were hippies and their favorite song was “Summer Breeze,’” said Summer Reyes, a self-professed protector and lover of the earth.
“I love the earth, the community, and the bus,” she said. “Not everyone can afford cars or to take a taxi. Our community is so much stronger when it can be inclusive.”
Reyes describes the Cherriots bus as indispensable. She grocery shops and runs errands for her neighbors, which now she can do on Saturday and later evenings.
Although she is not employed full time, she does keep busy with volunteering at the Carousel, Family Building Blocks, and Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary; working with the unsheltered community; and doing odd jobs like pet sitting,
Reyes is a longtime public transportation user. As a child she began riding so that she could get to the local library. “At 11 years old, it was by bike or by bus,” she said. “Now riding the bus takes a lot of stress out of my life. The bus drive is safe and I don’t have to worry.”
Today she lives in Keizer with her mother and her dog Charlie. She lights up when she talks about him and explains that he is not a service animal but he does have a “service” person.
“He has a nanny,” Reyes said. “He is a very nervous dog. I left him alone once and he ate a chair.”
Reyes primary route for getting around is Route 19.
“That’s where all the magic happens,” said Reyes. “The nicest and kindest bus drivers are on Route 19. They go out of their way to help riders.”
She relies on technology to plan her trips. Without it, she said she would be lost.
“I was in Woodburn recently with no phone,” she said. “It was rough.”
Reyes boards the bus with a very distinct, oversized bag. While riding, she listens to music, knits, reads, writes thank you notes, and “listens in on conversations.”
“It’s the busiest route,” she said. “I love it.”