He sits and waits patiently for the elders of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community as they go about their daily errands and knows which shopping bag belongs to which elder riding in his bus. Guadalupe "Lupe" Marscales is no ordinary bus driver, he is a true friend to the Community's seniors.
Before Marscales worked for the seniors, he drove the Salt River Elementary School bus. Pete Chavez, his supervisor at the time, told Marscales that a job for a driver had opened up at the Senior Center, and knew that Marscales would be perfect for it.
Marscales said, "I take care of them [the seniors] like I would take care of my mom," a statement which reflects his true dedication. Sadly, his mother passed away on Valentine's Day.
Marscales said he does not have a favorite senior among his passengers, although Bernice Phillips brings a smile to his face. Marscales said, "I love that lady because she teaches me a lot of things. She is always laughing and smiling; she is always talking to me and telling me stories about her life."
On one recent day, a group of ladies, Idella Azules, Lauretta Johnson, Ramona Loring and Pearl Schurz, were sitting and waiting for Marscales to take them to their homes. Each one of them had nothing but good things to say.
Azules' hearing is not so good; Marscales knows this, so when he calls bingo numbers he makes sure to put her right next to him. He will also watch her card to make sure she doesn't miss any numbers.
All the ladies said that Marscales is a friend of theirs. During shopping trips, Johnson said, "He has his own routine, and when somebody else goes to help you, [they] mess it up because he knows where everything is (referring to their shopping bags). He has a good memory."
Loring agreed. "He knows exactly which bag belongs to whom," she said.
Azules added, "When we are ready to go home, sometimes I have a bunch of packages; then he puts my stuff and my chair up, and does the same thing when I get off the bus."
In a little voice, Schurz chimed in, "He is my friend."
Anyone watching Marscales help the seniors in and out of the bus, whether it be for a field trip, for shopping or for breakfast, knows for sure that he cares for the seniors and treats them gently.
All the ladies agreed that he never sits down and is always helpful. They even became angry when they heard a rumor that people from Gila River wanted to recruit him to be their driver.
They said it is probably because they see how well he takes care of them, like getting them water and even buying snacks or drinks for them if they don't have money.”Loring said, "He will buy us soda, like he did today." They all laughed.
For Mother's Day this year, he spent the day cooking in Lehi, making enchiladas and salsa. The ladies all raved about his salsa.
Marscales loves his job and most likely will not be going anywhere for a long time. Loring said, "He goes the extra mile for us. We don't want to lose him." All the women nodded their heads and agreed.