Gabrielle Olko used to live in Los Angeles, where she could walk or bike everywhere. When she moved back to the Charlottesville area, she felt stuck.
The 39-year-old doesn’t have a driver’s license because of seizures, so she used Ubers to get from her home near the airport north of Charlottesville. “I was spending more money than needed or not being able to get out except for a doctor’s appointment,” she recalls. But about five years ago, a friend told her about Jaunt.
“Jaunt is amazing,” Gabrielle says. “I’ve become friends with the drivers, and I’m truly taken care of. I’ve even gotten to know some of the people that I ride with a little bit, and we make jokes or ask how someone’s cat is or their sister.” Jaunt helps Gabrielle get to doctor and dentist appointments, the gym, the library and many other places.
The two drivers she sees the most are Sandy and Cavonda, and she’s developed a good relationship with them. “What brightens my day is to see the care the drivers give to people that are struggling a lot more than I am,” she says. That could be everything from helping someone with a wheelchair or listening to riders’ stories. “The drivers make the experience fun,” she says.
Gabrielle is studying for her acupuncture license exams and finds riding Jaunt inspiring. “I like to look at it as almost my extra credit course,” she says. “It’s been a beautiful, humbling experience to not just be learning in the clinic, but to be on a bus with all these people going through different things and just finding a full-on respect and beauty.”