In such uncertain times, we’re all looking for answers – or even clarity on how to do our part in society right now. And while for some of us our hustling lives have taken a pause, others that are on the frontlines of battling the global pandemic due to COVID 19 are doubling down, exhibiting leadership and courage that we can all learn from – and be thankful for. Over the next several weeks we’ll take a look at our frontline leaders, from our community servants to service workers to healthcare professionals and more because we know People Make the City – even more so in a time like this.
If you’d like to nominate a story from one of Indy’s 20- and 30-something’s, please email Hannah Thomas, email@example.com for more information. We’re here for you, let us share your story.
Being an IndyGo driver means giving critical access to economic, cultural, health, educational, and recreational opportunities to residents in Indianapolis. In times of crisis, IndyGo drivers are tasked with keeping mobility going and ensuring that residents are having the healthiest and safest experience possible. And right now we need our IndyGo drivers to bring us this critical tool when we need it most. We wanted to check in on how they’re coping so we jumped on the phone to check in with one of IndyGo’s young service leaders, Maryah Moncel. Check out her story below.
You’re an Indy native (and now Irvington resident) Being born and raised in Indianapolis, why is this city so special to you? Who are some people here in this city that have made an impact on your life?
I love how our city is a major city, but there are still so many things you can do. Indy has something for everyone, from parks to the Downtown Canal, recreation is so accessible for all.
As someone in transit, I appreciate the way our city is laid out and I know our streets and IndyGo’s routes like the back of my hand. (IndyHub: She really does!)
One of my mentors is Susie Cordi – she drives for Warren Township schools and used to be on the Indianapolis City-County Council – she’s the woman who inspired me to work in transit.
You’ve been at IndyGo for over a year now, tell us about some of the rewarding moments in your career so far and why you’ve made a commitment to serve the City of Indianapolis?
I am so incredibly fortunate to serve others by keeping Indianapolis moving. From job interviews, school, grocery store, or even a date – everyone has somewhere to be and I get to provide that service to people in our city.
One night, I was driving inbound route 39 when a man told me a story about how I was too nice to people – which is why I do what I do – I always have a smile on my face because you never know what someone is going through. IndyGo gave me an award for my customer service skills right when I got out of training, which was one of my pride and joy moments. I try to give out my happiness to the world as much as possible. Sometimes, people just need someone to listen to.
Ok, so you spend your days supporting, listening and driving all of us around but tell me Maryah, how do you get around town when you’re not driving others?
When I’m not driving, I do use IndyGo transportation. Especially when I’m headed to work. Hopping on the bus to the Julia Carson Transit Center is my favorite way to decompress. Driving is so therapeutic to me. This is sort of ironic, but… I drive a Prius which is the exact opposite of an IndyGo Bus.
We all know our current way of life has changed drastically and in a short time. How has the global pandemic changed the way you work and protect yourself on the frontlines in our city?
Right now, transit is completely free across Indianapolis (as of May 7). With free rides, it allows drivers and riders to stay within 6 ft of each other. We also are enforcing social distancing guidelines, encouraging others to sit a safe distance from other riders, wear a mask – the important aspects of keeping others safe. To be honest with you, since I started at my job at IndyGo, I’ve always worn a mask and carried heavy-duty cleaning supplies on board. I work hard to keep the environment clean. You name it, I clean it – seats, pull cord, the fasten, and seatbelts. My cleaning protocol has always stayed a big part of my routine to keep myself safe and to keep others safe.
And from your perspective what has the community been like while moving Indy’s people?
From the start, riders have been taking the virus very seriously. Routes are moving along incredibly fast – I am early to my next point by four minutes on some routes. I make a point for riders to see how great of care I take for the bus in terms of cleaning. I want everyone to feel safe.
Our city is incredibly lucky to have you on the frontlines, supporting us. You work hard to take care of others every day, so tell us how you take care of yourself?
I take a lot of vitamins. I love oranges and drinking tea. I’m super big on wellness, so even prioritizing healthy eating is a huge detail for me. My boyfriend and I have been doing a ton of walking. We go on daily walks with my cat around Irvington and find a lot of joy in laying in our hammock in the sun. We’re also hitting all the Disney + movies and shows on Netflix. I also am so passionate about sustainability, especially recycling. And like I said, I drive a Prius so I try to play my part in shaping our environment in whatever way I can.
We know our city and state’s Mantra, #INthistogether gives people hope and encouragement but what’s giving you hope during this moment in history?
The people across this city and world that are taking this seriously and doing their part are giving me hope.