AUSTIN, Texas — Florence MacCauley sees a doctor for a general checkup generally once every six weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, complicated many things including the timeframe for when MacCauley could make those visits. MacCauley's decision to wait longer before returning to the doctor was out of an abundance of caution given the nature of the virus and the populations it affects.
But one complication MacCauley doesn’t have to worry about is how to get there.
Thanks to the nonprofit organization, Drive a Senior Central Texas, MacCauley has been able to rely on drivers to take her to those doctor’s appointments.
“The volunteer drivers that I’ve come in contact with have been super special. Very courteous just like a member of your family,” said MacCauley.
The organization, which boasts well over 10,000 rides, has roots dating back to 1985.
It is designed to assist the area's senior population on a fixed income, those who are unable to use public transportation, and those whose family members may be distant or unavailable.
Of course given the pandemic, the nonprofit has changed some operations to better serve clients.
Only paid drivers are actively working on rides during the pandemic, masks are always worn, and only one passenger is taken at a time.
One driver, Mr. Clifton Smith, has been driving in several capacities for nearly twenty years — from working at Capital Metro, to a brief stint at Meals on Wheels.
“It really makes it a much more fulfilling job than just, you know, hauling freight or delivering packages or something like that,” said Smith.