Rider profile: Danny Henderson
For Danny Henderson, riding the bus is more than just about getting around town. It has been a gateway to good health, vitality and a sense of community.
In 2006, Danny had a stroke which changed his life in many ways. He had to go about doing things differently, therefore in 2007 he started to use the T Lift paratransit service in order to get to the store, doctor appointments, physical therapy and to meet with caseworkers. He found that it worked well for him, but he would just go to his destination and then go home.
This past year, at the suggestion of a caseworker, he started to ride the fixed route bus service in Lawrence. This would enable him to have more freedom to go where he wanted without scheduling a ride in advance. At first, he was nervous since he was afraid of getting lost or that the drivers would not be nice, but that nervousness soon subsided after he realized it was not difficult and the drivers were very helpful.
Riding the bus has been a game changer for him. He gets out into the community, meets people on the bus, he walks to and from the bus stop and travels to many different destinations in Lawrence. He uses the Route 3 to go to physical therapy, Route 6 to go to go to the Sports Pavilion, Route 1 or 7 to get home and Route 11 to go to the KU campus where he both works and walks the campus for fun and exercise.
The most surprising thing that he has found is how nice everyone is on the bus. He finds that the drivers have been friendly and helpful, many times making suggestions on which bus to take or where to catch the bus. He has also met all kinds of interesting people on the bus, many of whom have become good friends. He is not nervous about riding anymore but looks forward to riding the bus every day.
Through it all, he has lost 80 pounds and credits his weight loss and improved health to the exercise he gets from walking to and from the bus stop, plus eliminating carbs and sugar from his diet. In addition to walking to the bus stop, he adds extra walks at the beginning or end of his bus route. Sometimes, he will walk up and down the hill at KU, or walk from 6th and Wakarusa to the Sports Pavilion. Each day, he likes to walk around 10 miles.
It has not been an easy road for Danny, but he works at staying positive, motivated and happy. And he is doing a very good job of it. Riding the bus has been a big part of his journey to recovery. It has been a learning experience, but he says “if I can ride the bus, anyone can ride the bus!”